Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taipei opens store staffed by Down syndrome patients

‘EMBRACE’ LOVE:The store is the city’s 41st sheltered workshop and is to provide employment opportunities for more than 600 people with the chromosome problem

By Huang Chung-jung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, left, accompanied by TV personality Li Ching, attends the opening ceremony of Abrazo at Nangang Exhibition Center MRT station in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Taipei City Government yesterday unveiled its 41st sheltered workshop with an opening ceremony at the Nangang Exhibition Center MRT station, hoping to provide more employment opportunities for the physically or mentally challenged.

Ai Bu Luo Suo (愛不囉嗦), meaning “love is not troublesome” is the name of the new store, with its English name being “Abrazo,” meaning “to embrace” in Spanish.

The store embodied the spirit of “Abrazo” that “to love [someone] is not troublesome; just embrace [them,]” city officials said.

The store also marked the first joint venture between the city government and the Down Syndrome Foundation of the R.O.C. as the city government has contracted the foundation to manage the store.

Down syndrome is a condition caused by an abnormality of chromosome 21 at birth. While the syndrome sometimes manifests physically — in alteration of the appearance of some facial characteristics or delayed physical growth — it also delays cognitive ability.

The store is expected to provide employment opportunities for nearly 600 people who are physically challenged, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at the event.

Hau expressed his gratitude to the volunteers who have helped make the store a reality, such as Lien Hwa Co, which provided the store and its employees — consisting of Down syndrome patients — with the nation’s first automated noodle maker.

Meanwhile, Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫) said that over the Lunar New Year holidays, there would be a variety of products made by people who are physically challenged.

For example, bakeries under the Children ARE US Foundation will be offering a special package priced at NT$499, Chen said, adding that other products, such as egg rolls, coffee beans, creme brules, chocolates and discounts for stationery, would also be available.

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