Support Sierra Leone Autistic Society
Why we need your help
The Sierra Leone Autistic Society (SLAS) has been providing support for autistic children, young people and their families in Sierra Leone since 2014. The organisation started with a small school for 30 pupils and now runs play schemes, youth groups and support groups in the capital, Freetown, and in three other locations in the country: Kabala, Makeni and Bo. These activities are providing vital community support and reducing the profound and dangerous isolation of autistic children and adults and their families.
'The Reason I Jump'
SLAS co-founder Mary Penn-Timity and her daughter Jes featured in the recent film 'The Reason I Jump', which has prompted some interest in supporting the work of SLAS in Sierra Leone. SLAS, along with the film's Director Jerry Rothwell, asked Stepping Forward to create this donation page for this purpose. We have been working with SLAS since 2017 and all funds generated will be transferred to the SLAS account, with no sums retained by us.
Autism Inclusion Centre
SLAS is now working to establish an Autism Inclusion Centre in Freetown, to include the first specialist nursery for autistic children, a cafe run by autistic young people and those with intellectual disabilities, youth groups and more support groups. SLAS outreach workers have identified hundreds of local children, young people and adults in need of support and to be part of a community. With the current funds and staff team, SLAS can only offer support to around one fifth of those that have already been identified. As well as more staff to support individuals and families, SLAS needs to purchase two extra motorbikes to reach rural communities and to fund the transport costs of individuals and families to enable them to attend the Centre. Without this financial support, people will not be able to attend and benefit from the support groups. The Centre would also like to buy a trampoline and more play resources.
It is clear that many autistic children and adults are living difficult lives in Sierra Leone, denied education, support and acceptance, and often prevented from participating in family and community life. SLAS research in the community confirms that autistic children in the Sierra Leone context are at extreme risk of witchcraft accusations and subsequent harmful treatment. Children are wholly reliant on their caregivers’ understanding of autism and their cooperation to access services and the community. Women can be driven from their homes for the disabilities of their children (SLAS supported one mother who moved nine times in one year, as the noises that her son made at night frightened and disturbed her neighbours). It is common for landlords to refuse to rent homes to families with a disabled child.
SLAS is transforming lives by offering support, promoting acceptance and creating opportunities for participation, as well as providing access to education and health care where appropriate. Please consider supporting this young and vibrant organisation in its essential, life-saving work.
raised towards £10,000.00 target
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Jan 12, 2021
Jan 08, 2021
Total raised so far
Total plus Gift Aid £150.00
Raised offline £0.00