What Is Lukiza Autism Foundation (LuAF)?
LuAF is a Civil Society, non-profit envisaging a Tanzanian society where Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) live in dignity and are accorded social justice. The rationale for establishing LuAF is ascribed to a number of factors. Firstly, activities and programmes carried out so far; and ongoing ones are far from adequate given the scale and complexity of the problems facing individuals with Autism in Tanzania. The work of the Civil Society does not sufficiently address the multi-faceted problems confronting the said Tanzanian Individuals.
Lukiza Autism Foundation was founded in March 2019, registered under the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.
The foundation is organized exclusively for such charitable purposes that help to improve the quality of life of individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families, through education, advocacy and support. These charitable purposes may include other individuals with mental and neurological issues related to Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In the long term, the Foundation envisions creating an equal society for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other individuals with mental and neurological issues related to ASD in Tanzania, where barriers are removed and equal access to rights and opportunities are protected and enforced.
The LuAF’s work is geared with a view to influencing public attitudes, policy and building the capacity of child-focused Foundations and ASD support schools in Tanzania. It will provide a forum for dialogue and discussion on issues affecting Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder; seek to explore new and contentious issues and “put Individuals in the Autism Spectrum Disorder FIRST” in all aspects of its work.
LuAF envisages a Tanzania landscape where there is equal society for children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and other individuals with mental and neurological issues related to ASD and where barriers are removed and equal access to rights and opportunities are protected and enforced.
LuAF works to improve the quality of life of individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their families through education, advocacy, support and empowerment. This may also include individuals with mental and neurological issues related to Autism.
The Foundation recognizes the following as its irreducible core values: respect, honesty, accountability, integrity, dedication to service, inclusiveness.
What is Autism (Usonji)?
Autism (Usonji in Swahili) is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviours. Because of the range of symptoms and variable severity, the condition is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It covers a large spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. ASD ranges in severity from a handicap that somewhat limits an otherwise normal life to a devastating disability that may require institutional care. Children with Autism have trouble communicating, they have trouble understanding what other people think and feel. This makes it very hard for them to express themselves either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.
A child with ASD who is very sensitive and may be greatly troubled, sometimes even pained by sounds, touches, smells or sights that seem normal to others.
This neurodevelopment disorder was formally identified in the early 1900. Globally, the prevalence was recorded at the rate of 17children in each 1000 children in 2018. In developing countries like Tanzania, it is still poorly diagnosed and managed. It was presented in the parliament in 2018 that there were 1416 children with Autism in the country with only 18 primary schools that can accommodate children with Autism in Tanzania. In addition, with increased awareness more and more cases will be identified.
Those living with Autism are often ostracized by society as a result of ignorance on the condition. This ignorance also leads to misdiagnosis and exploitation of those living with Autism. Therefore, there is a definite need for increased Autism awareness in Tanzania.
We aim to promote and increase widespread Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness among the public, parents, educational systems, medical professions and the government. Stigma is one of the huge problem facing individuals in the Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tanzania. We help communities appreciate the potential of individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
We thrive to organize and sponsor assessments, therapies and education as the foundation funds shall allow, with a view for early intervention, elimination and reduce symptom/indicators of ASD and improve quality of life of Children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. We provide counselling and training to families and care givers of individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and other mental and neurological issues related to ASD. We provide information on appropriate care and services available for individuals with Autism.
- May provide financial support by sponsoring therapies, education including vocational school costs of children and other individuals on ASD, as the Foundation’s funds shall allow.
- May provide services, equipment and educational material to special needs schools offering education to Children on ASD.
- Provides (establish) support systems for parents and guardians.
- May provide resources for home therapy in the future.
- Provides linkages between families and service providers for behavioral treatment and early interventions.
- May Sponsor and mentor individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and other mental and neurological issues.
- To provide a forum for dialogue and a voice for children and individual with Autism and other related mental/neurological medical conditions.
- To promote the right of ASD children to play, by calling for establishing a safe non-judgemental and inclusive play grounds, parks and socializing venues.
- To advocate for good specialized and affordable education institutions for people on the ASD.
- To engage with the policy makers in the government to increase services availability for individuals on the ASD
- To protect children and individuals on the ASD from harmful traditions, these are such as beliefs in witchcraft and the stigma around mental and neurological disabilities. Some family members and parents believed Autism can be cured by mere prayers or that their children’s condition is due to some witchcraft. This might be due to the fact that Symptoms of Autism typically appears during the first three years of life. Some children show signs from birth; others seem to develop normally at first, only to slip suddenly into symptoms when they are 18 to 36 months old.
- Lobby the government for the establishment or implementation of policies and regulations that gives equal access to education special needs and inclusive), health and employment.
- Equal rights to play/socializing.
- Collaborate in domesticating international instruments on individuals with disabilities.
- Promote research collaboration.
- Provide and promote affordable and accessible intervention services.
- More research to find out actual prevalence and any different environmental or genetic constitution associated with Autism cases in Tanzania.
- To contribute to improved knowledge of the problems facing Tanzanian Children on the ASD as well as policy options.
- Support and work closely with already establish institutions that care for and provide services to children with Autism.
- Provide navigation pathway to diagnosis.
- Facilitate training/seminars on interventions for ASD to practitioners.
- Provide training for parents and caregivers in home interventions.
- Developing contextually relevant, sensitive and appropriate materials for ASD.
Youth Social-Economic Empowerment
LuAF aims to empower youth on the Autism Spectrum Disorder by facilitating skill acquisition in order to be productive member of society and contribute to the country economy to the best of their abilities.
- Skills development and/or technical and vocational education and training
- Improved capacity building for parents
- Self-employment/ income generating activities
- Inclusive formal or wage employment
- Increase special educational and inclusive schools and vocational schools that are affordable and up to standards.
- Social protection
HOW TO DONATE:
Bank: KCB Bank – Oysterbay Branch
Account name: Lukiza Autism Foundation
Account number: 3390658793
Branch code: 4608
Sort code: 017011
Swift code: KCBLTZTZ
Bank Address: Harambee Plaza, Kaunda Street, Dar Es Salaam.
Mobile Money Accounts:
VODACOM: Merchant Number/Lipa Namba – 5069292
TIGO: Merchant Number/Lipa Namba – 8145585
AIRTEL: Airtel Money Number – +255 783639335