Ethiopia: Foundation Calls Attention, Support to Autistic Citizens

ADDIS ABABA - Nia Foundation Joy Center for Children with Autism has called on the public and other stakeholders to contribute share to enhance the participation of individuals on the autism in social and economic arenas.

Center Managing Director and Founder, Zemi Yenus, told journalist yesterday that despite all the efforts, the awareness of the society towards autistic individuals is still unchanged. Much effort is needed from the society, the government and other actors to improve the situation, she added. According to her, parents are still taking the burden of their autistic children. Lack of awareness coupled with limited availability of autism rehabilitation centers in the country forcing parents either to lock or hide their children in the house.

"Absence of awareness among society, harmful beliefs and assumptions, deprivation of attention to autistic children and blaming mothers for the cause is still a challenge." Zemi stressed that full acceptance of the right of children with no discrimination is key.

Studies indicated that males are four times vulnerable to autism than females. Recently, it is discovered that out of 57 people, one person is victim of autism. Globally, there are hundred thousand people on autism whilst it is estimated that half-a-million Ethiopians are affected by the disorder. Since establishment, the foundation has been striving to support children with special needs and it has employed local technologies and facilities with a view to integrating autistic children with the society, Zemi elaborated. Noting that the foundation has been working to establish an autistic center in a 5,000 hectare of received from the city government, she has called on the active involvement from scores of the society to the materialization of the project.

The whole April will be observed as autism awareness month. Autism will be marked globally by creating awareness with a theme "Inclusion in work place: Challenges and Opportunities in a post pandemic world," it was learnt.

The Ethiopian Herald 1 April 2021

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