Persons living with Autism celebrated events to mark “The Light Mr and Miss Autism Kenya 2021” which was organized by a consortium of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) at a Kasarani hotel.
During the event which attracted friends and relatives of those with autism, the NGO’s put a smile on their faces when they treated them to free drinks, therapy, counselling and guidance services which have become a mirage to most people with the condition.
Ready Aiders Foundation, a Non-profit making organization operating in Mathare promised to continue assisting persons living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders in the country.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has impacted negatively on many people in all sectors of development, those affected by Autism, the CEO of the Foundation Mr. Kenneth Apopa, said he was happy to be associated with these special people in holding the noble event to commemorate world’s Autism awareness month.
The Non-profit organization (NGO) offered free therapy to the children with Autism and offered counselling sessions as well to their parents who majorly felt left out in the social norms of the Society.
Mr. Apopa called for support from well-wishers saying few NGOs had rolled out programmes for people living with the condition. “We appeal for support from the Government and also the Society at large so that we can team up to give adequate care to our people living with the condition since many have not taken it seriously yet it continued to affect our people as they both have not taken integrated people with Autism in most of the programmes.
Ready Aiders welcomed support in cash and kind from the government, sponsors and volunteers who would assist in making an impact in the community so that they were equally represented in order for their needs to be catered for at the right time.
Mr. Apopa thanked the Nairobi County Women’s Representative Ms Esther Passaris who joined the meeting virtually as she is out of the country. She however promised to support all programmes relating to autism through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
During the event, those who excelled in exhibiting their talents were crowned accordingly. They modelled to their guests who cheered them up and encouraged them to continue doing their best.
In the Female Category for Light of Autism Paula Ndirangu was crowned Light of Autism Kenya while in the Male Category for Light of Autism Ephraim Ndirangu was the first runners up of the title Light of Autism Kenya.
Jehanna Postwalla was crowned Miss Congeniality, 2021 in the female category as well as Ms Swabrah Baris.
In another Female Category for Ms Autism Kenya Keren Baraka took the crown followed by Effie Otieno who was the first Runners up and Jackline Mbuthia taking second runners up place of Ms Autism Kenya.
In the Men’s Category for Mr. Autism Kenya, Mordecai Wekesa was crowned Mr Autism Kenya with Hei Martin being the first runners up and Gerald Maina as the second runners up.
Autism is a condition characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.
It is therefore important that parents and guardians should check for signs during the first three years of the child’s life which often develop gradually, though some autistic children are slow in their communication and social skills later in life.
Once any signs are noted, the child can be assisted at the right time and the condition managed so that they can be given the best therapy of the condition and also taken to the right academic institution that will be of help to them.
by Lydia Shiloya and Miriam Muli