Military Wives Association of Kenya in conjunction with KDF Compensation and Welfare (C&W) Department on 3rd April 2024 celebrated World Autism Awareness Day in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru.

In Nairobi, the event themed ‘Moving from surviving to thriving’ was held at Defence Forces Wellness Centre in Langata Garrison. It was presided over by MWAK Chairlady Aileen Ogolla who expressed her delight over the impressive turnout of Autistic children, parents and caregivers.

“Persons on the Autism spectrum and their families endure stigma and discrimination from a society that is generally ignorant of the condition. Occasions like this give us the privilege of getting a glimpse of the challenges that they and their caregivers have to surmount, their unique perspectives towards life and their extraordinary potential.”

Her sentiments were resounded by Commandant Wellness Center Colonel Bii who noted the improvement of attendance; from 30 children in 2023 to 63 this year. He reassured the parents that the center will endeavor to provide holistic physical and psycho-social therapy to support the children and their caregivers.

Chief of Compensation and Welfare Brigadier John Kahoya, appreciated MWAK for complementing Welfare initiatives and for their fresh outlook in addressing issues. He recognized the association as the ‘third eye of the welfare department’ and further requested personnel to encourage their spouses to register with the association for enhanced impact and reach.

Meanwhile at Kenya Navy Base, Mombasa Region leader, Mrs Rose Ng’ang’a
noted that people with autism are still misunderstood by many. She affirmed that MWAK, guided by its mission of supporting the well-being of KDF families, will continue to explore ways of supporting children with special needs and their caregivers.

Nakuru region leader, Mrs. Maureen Kamoiro, expressed similar thoughts when addressing the families gathered at the Lanet Regional Hospital.

The children in the three venues were presented with an assortment of gifts donated by MWAK.

The climax of the day was the presentation of a cheque to MWAK of Kshs 3 Million, by the Kingdom Bank Head of Business Development, Mr. Alex Kasiki. The money will be used to purchase diapers for children with special needs.

The KDF band provided the fanfare during the processions within the various camps. Guest speakers gave needed insights to those in attendance on how to cope, accept, encourage and provide a more inclusive environment for those living with autism and their families.

The functions were attended by camp leadership, uniformed personnel, MWAK members and families.

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