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March 5, 2021

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It’s a Dream Workshop as cops mingle with staff

Workers at the Dream Workshop cafe in the Pudong New Area had special guests yesterday afternoon — police officers from Hongkou District.

Singing and playing, they had fun at a get-together organized by Dong Rui, a Hongkou police officer devoted to charitable causes.

The cafe opened in June 2019 as a social practice project of the Pudong Special School for young people with intellectual disabilities, and it was later added to a car wash, a noodle restaurant and a supermarket.

Around a dozen people with mental disabilities are employed.

As the first of such projects in Shanghai, it has drawn a lot of attention from the public. The cafe has had about 30,000 customers so far, and through constant interaction with other people, the workers there have developed mentally.

During the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the cafe workers made over 7,000 cups of coffee for community workers, police officers and medical workers to thank them for their contributions to the city.

The staff at the cafe work under the slogan “The harder you work, the more likely you’re going to get lucky.”

Dong, who earlier had contact with the cafe through other events, said the get-together benefited both the workers and the police officers.

“Our company helps the workers to get more confident in interacting with people and making a living on their own, and they can be a great source of inspiration to us — that with tenacious work everyone can become a better person,” she said.

Wang Ying, headmistress of the Pudong Special School, said that the hard work and kind hearts of the young people gave others strength.

“If we only give them love and respect and treat them as our equals, they will reward us back with more than we expect,” she insisted.

The police officers helped the workers make bags and enjoyed the staff’s saxophone and magic shows.

Accompanied on piano by one of the workers, they sang a popular Chinese song that expresses thanks to kind-hearted people.

The cafe staff were excited about the visit and said they were happy to spend time with their new friends.


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