Last week, I went along with the Consul General and the Community Grants Coordinator for a ceremony to mark the handing out of the very first Autism South Africa First Aid Kits. I got to introduce my boss to the dedicated team that brought this idea to fruition. We also toured an inner-city school for children on the spectrum. I was immediately recognized by a member of staff as Pudding’s mother- she is such a superstar!
These First Aid kits are packages that Autism South Africa will send out to communities and schools in need to support their autistic learners. It isn’t an autism unit in every school. It isn’t specially trained teachers and therapists such as the wealthier amongst us can afford. This is the most basic toolkit for those with nothing else, for true communities in need: rural, isolated, impoverished.
We got to meet some of the recipients of these kits, and I don’t know how I managed not to shed a tear as they talked about how tools as simple as a laminator and velcro were going to change the lives of children there. Each kit contains strategies and tools, with a guide to producing developmental toys with limited resources and no impact to the environment.
The US Mission to South Africa provides the Self-Help grant that funds 80 of these kits, but the impact of these strategies is beyond measure.
Beyond measure…just like the potential of those given the right support. This first aid may not be saving lives, but it is definitely changing them…for the better.