Taking orders, delivering dishes or setting a dining table may seem like relatively easy tasks, but they signal a very important achievement for mentally disabled Jacky Chan Chim-ching. The tasks are all part of his work as a trainee waiter, and being part of the workforce has boosted his self-esteem and confidence. 'I like working here at the cafe. I've learned a lot, people here are nice to me. I'm happiest when I'm praised by customers,' he says. Twenty-two-year-old Jacky is one of the trainees at the YWCA MacDonnell Road's Garden View Lounge. The cafe is operated by the Hong Chi Association. The charity aims to ensure the needs of mentally handicapped people are taken care of and to give them a sense of belonging in the community through work placement and training programmes. 'Since the cafe was launched in 2004, we have trained 16 mildly mentally impaired young people. They find it hard to concentrate sometimes and lack self-confidence and social skills,' says Sonja Shih, volunteer co-ordinator. But given time and patience, trainees learn the skills they need for the job. Every trainee has a job coach who works with them in the cafe. The aim is to prepare them for the job market and be competitive. Securing a job is important as they can then contribute financially to their families. Nine trainees have completed the training, and now work in restaurants. As the mother of a mentally disabled daughter, Ms Shih believes disabled people should be helped to integrate into society. 'I've arranged for her to join various activities to help her develop social skills since she was young. 'Mentally disabled people need to develop their communication skills and the best way to achieve that is by introducing them to different social situations.' One of the problems faced by the cafe when it first opened was a lack of customers as MacDonnell Road is quite far from high traffic areas. However, the situation has improved and now warm-hearted customers from all parts of the city travel a long way to the cafe just to show their support. 'At the beginning we only had one dish on the menu. Yet a loyal customer came everyday,' says Ms Shih. Even Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen made a low-profile visit to the cafe. 'The visits of well-known people and community support are real confidence boost. It's important that [the disabled] know their work is acknowledged and that they haven't been forgotten by society,' says Ms Shih. Garden Lounge Cafe, at 6/F, YWCA Headquarters, 1 MacDonnell Road, is open from 10am - 6:30pm, Monday to Saturday.