We partner with local African organizations during autism awareness month in April to generate heightened interest and further education about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and child developmental disabilities in general. Local and national media houses provide interviews and coverage of events on radio and television. The highlight of the month's activities is our organization of "Light It Up Blue" or "La Lumiere Bleue" events on World Autism Day, April 2nd to commemorate autism awareness with the autism community worldwide.
Notable "Light It Up Blue" events have been the historic lighting of the National Monument of Senegal - Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine (African Renaissance Monument) in collaboration with Special Olympics, special needs Centers across Senegal and others; the lighting if the largest mall (by square feet) in West Africa in Accra, Ghana and the lighting of the Grand National Mosque of Ghana, both done in partnership with local parent organization Autism Action Ghana. Thanks to these collaborations, West Africa is represented as part of the global community increasing autism awareness by "lighting it up blue" on World Autism Day, April 2nd.
It all began with a presentation on staff training for autism and child developmental disability Centers at the first Autism Society of West Africa (ASWA) conference in 2011. Since then, CHIP International has organized or participated in numerous seminars for parents, professionals, civil society organizations and the general public in Senegal and Ghana, with participants from all over West Africa. We have in addition received inquiries and various requests from all over the African continent, but have been unfortunately limited by funding. With increased funding we will be in a position to cater to more of these expanding needs.