8th April 2019
Disabled youngsters win respect, dignity with hard work
When drivers pull into the Wanwan Car Wash on Kaixuan Road, they immediately discover something different — apart from two trainers, everyone has an intellectual or developmental disability, like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or autism.
A girl with Down syndrome quickly brews tea when customers come in. The others wash a car together, each person taking charge of a different part of car. Trainers supervise and sometimes join in. Many drivers are frequent visitors. At first, they tried to pay extra because they tried to help these young people. However, they were turned down.
“These youngsters try to win respect from others by working hard. The car wash is built to help them integrate into society, not beg for sympathy,” said Xu Qin.
Xu, mother of a mentally handicapped boy, established Wanwan 10 years ago as a private rehabilitation and care home for intellectual disabilities. It has 30 handicapped young men and women today.
Wanwan has also opened a small grocery store. People with slight disabilities work in the car wash and the grocery, getting a salary every month. Those with serious mental disabilities take part in rehabilitation and training at the Wanwan care center.