Stepping Forward

Support for the Sierra Leone Autistic Society

The Sierra Leone Autistic Society provides vital community support in the capital Freetown & from 3 district Hubs - reducing the profound isolation of autistic children & adults and their families through access to education, health, social support.
by 4 supporters
RCN 1177955

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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 a donation page for this purpose. We have been working with SLAS since 2017 and all funds generated from this page will be transferred to the SLAS account for their work, with no sums retained by us.

Autism Inclusion Centre

SLAS is 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. The SLAS Helpline receives calls everyday from individuals and families requiring support. SLAS would like to expand the staff team, and provide transport funds so that people are able to attend youth groups, employment training, play days and carer support groups. Without support for transport most people are unable to join in with SLAS activities.

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 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.

About the charity

Stepping Forward

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RCN 1177955
Stepping Forward facilitates access to essential services, information & life opportunities so that disabled people & carers can live a full life. We run advice services & disability awareness sessions. Our international work supports practical initiatives to improve the lives of disabled people.

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