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Tehran's newest cafe offers glimmer of hope for disabled Iranians

Unemployment and isolation are some of the biggest problems facing Iran's disabled population, and a cafe run by a staff with autism and Down syndrome is just what its employees needed.

With tables squeezed together, framed paintings on the walls and a one-page menu that offers a selection of coffees, Downtism cafe in northern Tehran looks like any other coffee shop. It's unique, though: Downtism is the first and only cafe in Iran where all the employees have Down syndrome or autism.

“I really like my job. It feels good to be out of home with friends and make real money,” Arya, a 21-year-old with autism, told Al-Monitor.

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