Government says it is alive to the challenges that people with autism go through, and is fully committed to offer support to all those directly and indirectly affected by it.
Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, Permanent Secretary, Ms. Angela Kawandami has since reaffirmed government’s support, with a call on the autistic community and other stakeholders to be part of the development agenda.
Ms. Kawandami was speaking yesterday, in a speech read on her behalf by Principal Social Welfare Officer, Mr. Maximilliian Bwalya, during a handover ceremony of K78,464 raised for the Mulenga Autism Foundation, by the Lusaka Bike Club.
She encouraged the foundation and similar organizations to engage with government by making recommendations on how best issues of autism and welfare of people on the spectrum can be enhanced.
“The government of Zambia ,having ratified the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2010 has ensured that persons with disabilities are a priority for government through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, which is responsible for disability affairs in the country” Ms. Kawandami said.
She said the Ministry has since put in place several interventions and programs to provide services and amenities that contribute towards uplifting the welfare and dignity of persons with disabilities, thereby reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for those with disabilities and those on the autism spectrum.
Ms. Kawandami further encouraged families whose members are autistic to come forward so that government can support them.
And speaking earlier, Mulenga Autism Foundation, Chairman, Mr. Urbano Mutati commended government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, for the commitment shown towards those with autism.
Mr. Mutati appealed to Government and all stakeholders to come on board and support the foundation with increased operational space and equipment in order to enhance care and support for children with autism.
And Zambia Cyling Association President, Mr. Andrew Chibuye said the inspirational story and work of the foundation challenged them to first of all raise awareness and also provide support to sustain the venture.
He urged the bigger autism community to be available by coming out in the open so that they can get support so that together, progress can be made.