Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Autism Consortium free walk-a-thon takes over Lumley Beach on Saturday

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A consortium of autism support organizations, including Puzzle Pieces, invites the public to join its sponsored walk from the Freetown Golf Club to the Family Kingdom on Lumley Beach on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, to raise awareness about the disorder. The Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. 

Nalla and Ibrahim Cole will be walking on Saturday. They founded Puzzle Pieces in 2019 to support families and schools caring for children on the spectrum. Their son, Mahmoud was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. 

“When we got Mahmoud’s diagnosis a decade ago, we were able to access to best care and resources outside of Sierra Leone. Within, however, there is little support and even less awareness about autism. Hence, we founded Puzzle Pieces to fill that need,” said Ibrahim Cole, who drove over 9000km in the Budapest – Bamako rally this February to raise awareness for autism.

Puzzle Pieces is a member of the Autism Consortium Sierra Leone, which includes other partners such as the Life of an Autistic Mum Charity Foundation, Junior’s Place of Hope, and the Sierra Leone Autistic Society. Together, these organizations offer support and community to families with autistic children. 

“We want to spread awareness about autism to educate people. Everyone should attend because now autism is global problem and lots of families are getting affected, so getting knowledge about the diagnosis is very important,” said Adama Juldeh Sidique, CEO and founder of Life of an Autistic Mum Charity Foundation.

The Autism Consortium’s sponsored walk is a critical activity in a month-long autism awareness campaign held each year in April. Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects the brain. The US Center for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network estimates that 1 in 36 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The disorder affects all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed as boys than girls. 

To participate in the free autism awareness walk, arrive between 7:30 am – 8:00 am to register at the starting point at Freetown Golf Club. 

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