April 2nd is World Autism Day, a day to remember all who have this neurodevelopmental problem.

CHIP International introduced the day of remembrance to Senegal 7 years ago with lighting up in blue the Monument de la Renaissance africaine, graciously welcomed by M. Senghor, former administrator of the Monument.  A panel at ENTSS to inform the students and public of various aspects of the child with special needs/autism was organized in the past and sponsored by CHIP-I.  We had a march, first of its kind for autism, on Sentinel. 

But most important of all, to celebrate these ” differences” in children, CHIP International coordinated 12 special needs’ centers (now 18) with the American School of Dakar, to have the  children from each of these centers put on a performance - dance, skit, poem- for their peers.  Free lunch was given along with a small dotation for making art and craft designs to be sold at the Monument for the benefit of the center.

Everything STOPPED: the pandemic forced us to halt the usual crowd assembling, up to 500 at the Monument: no more illuminating the Monument, no more panels, no more gathering the children together.

INSTEAD, CHIP International offered mask, soap and gel to the 18 centers this year for the pandemic and 25.000 fcfa to each participating center to make some art or craft project for each of them to take home.  We have a cameraman , M. Cherif Khoury, who will take photos/video at each center of their finished art projects with our coordinator, M. Claude SARR  .

Mme Fatou Sokhna Thioune, Psychologist for CHUP International, was invited by  a local television  channel to speak about World Autism Day.

Wishing you all a very safe and healthy month of April and big hugs to our wonderful children!

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Children with autism and developmental disabilities in Africa, like everywhere else, deserve the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential. 

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