It’s not every day that ways to help the go-getters and Do-It-Yourselfers of society falls into your lap, but this is exactly what happened. From the odd glance on the various goings-on of other NPOs to a tag here & there on Instagram to being able to make a difference in the lives of autistic adults in South Africa. Jozi 4 Autism is making a donation to a project close to our heart and we hope you will do the same.
Special Knead Café aims to create employment for adult autists in South Africa, starting in Joburg with hopes to expand. The pilot café was a success, turned a profit and created hope amongst families which makes this something we can all get behind and be proud of as a country!
The Centre of Justice for Special Needs NPO
Special Knead Café falls under the protection of The Centre of Justice for Special Needs NPO (2018 / 535244 / 08) and money is currently being raised to get the cafe new premises and to expand the business. A crazy guy on a bike is cycling from London to Istanbul (what?!) to raise funds for this cause, but I digress – who better to tell their story than the founder of Special Knead Café herself, Kim Rundle…
The original Special Knead Café was opened a year and a half ago in a wooden hut that John Rundle donated in order to give employment to neurodiverse and autistic young adults – including our 22 year old daughter – Sammi, who is a semi-verbal alexic autistic. The job market in South Africa is non existent. Due to bad partnership decisions on my part, I had to close the doors after just four months.
The café was such a success that all staff were paid salaries from the profits in the first month. There was no way I was giving up, so I opened the The Centre of Justice for Special Needs with specialist professionals and made it water-tight. Our portfolio managers all have specific roles to play and they are all young and dynamic. Being a special needs teacher, I am not business-orientated, but special-needs-training-orientated and therefore have surrounded myself in this NPO with lawyers and business consultants, so what happened before will never happen again. I have been searching tirelessly for new premises that would suit our autistic adults and so many incredible people have offered premises in shopping centres, but it has to be a sensory-friendly green space in a loving community.
Special Knead Café will be a community venture, where all people feel welcome to get involved by baking goods to be sold in the cafe. It is a ‘Kind Zone’ where business people can take a quiet moment to breathe and do some work on their laptops while they enjoy a great cup of coffee and a pastry or piece of cake. We intend to sell goods made and baked by special needs people, who bake from home and Capsicum Culinary Studio has on our request set up courses for neurodiverse and special needs young people. Every cent we make goes to our employees and to help create more coffee shops where they are needed.
All our requirements have been met by sponsors and donors, from display fridges, to coffee machines and even free Barista training is provided by Illy Coffee, in return we buy their local roasted coffee. All crockery and cutlery also has been donated to us by followers on Facebook. I just have to put a request on Facebook and people bring whatever we need! The generosity of people has been heartwarming.
Our employees have Saturday afternoons off, Sunday and public holidays and we will close in December. All autistic families are exhausted and these adults can get burnout, so we need to carefully monitor their well-being.
They will earn a proper salary that they can live off and become independent. We would like this first cafe to be the hub off all things autistic, where neurodiverse people can come and feel like they belong, a social sanctuary of creativity and acceptance.
Crazybikeguy, Grant Cameron-Smith, is our business consultant/specialist director and he wanted to show the world how hard the journey can be for an autistic person and their family – he is doing the extraordinary for the extraordinary!
Cycling 8800km from London to Istanbul for us, to raise awareness of this mammoth journey we embark on, and to raise funds for our coffee shop. You can follow him on www.crazybikeguy.com and watch his journey live, and read his amazing blogs, that his wife Elizabeth writes up for him. His Facebook page is Crazybikeguy and his Instagram account is #grantcrazybikeguy. We keep our followers updated on our Facebook Page and our Instagram account.
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