Quezon City cafe promoting autism awareness featured on the BBC

Puzzle Cafe is changing the way we look at people with autism.


(SPOT.ph) Family-owned Puzzle Cafe at Blue Ridge, Quezon City, has made international headlines via a blog on BBC.com.


Aurora Almendral, who writes for Ouch, a blog that discusses the issues of the disabled, chronicles how the Canoy family decided to open a cafe that would help one of their members—and eventually promote a better life for those living with autism. 


According to the post, titled "The family who built a cafe just for their son," Girlie Canoy set up the restaurant to be run by her six children, including 22-year-old Jose, who has autism. Jose is part-owner and waits tables a few afternoons a week. To quote the feature, "[Girlie's] plan is that in the future her children will keep the cafe going and continue to support Jose in his work." Her other daughter, Ysabella, who studied special education in college, handles the day-to-day operations.


After seeing the positive effects of working on Jose, Puzzle Cafe, whose name is inspired by the international symbol for autism, now hires other employees with autism—10 waiters and one kitchen assistant, at the time the blog post was published—plus a woman with cerebral palsy. A few others with Down Syndrome are also currently being trained. 




The colorful restaurant is decked out in puzzle-themed decor, ornaments, shelves full of pantry goods. Seeing the employees also helps remove the stigma of interacting with people with autism. "Customers occasionally get upset when they don't understand why they struggle to communicate with the waiters, but these interactions turn into opportunities to change perceptions about autism, and to highlight what people with autism are capable of doing," says Ysabella in the article.


Puzzle Gourmet Store & Cafe is at 1 Comets Loop, Blue Ridge B, Quezon City. Read the full feature on BBC.com.


Screencap from BBC.com; restaurant image from Puzzle Gourmet Store & Cafe's Facebook page

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