NewsLocalVoice for Autism celebrates First Group Homes in Nicosia

Voice for Autism celebrates First Group Homes in Nicosia

The NGO is transforming the landscape for young adults with autism while Deputy Ministers stand up for autism

Voice for Autism, a new NGO that focuses on supporting young adults with disabilities build meaningful and connected lives, celebrated the opening of two group homes in Lakatamia, Nicosia, over the weekend with a party at the homes for families, friends and supporters.

These are the first homes in Nicosia for young people on the autism spectrum and the NGO is committed to providing independence, inclusion, and opportunities to this community.

Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Anastassia Anthousi (pictured – third from left – with the founders of Voice for Autism and representatives from Smile – Autism Support Famagusta) attended the event and praised Voice for Autism for the initiative.

She said her ministry will lend support to Voice for Autism and also push hard for the adoption of an autism agenda.

Deputy Minister of Technology for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriakos Kokkinos, also attended the event and praised Voice for Autism for its achievements adding that he is also pushing for an autism agenda and more support for people on the spectrum.

President of Voice for Autism, Ellen Georgiou Pontikis, thanked the deputy ministers for their support and said both are standing up for autism.

She also announced a 25,000 euro grant from the Department of Social Welfare.  The funds will go towards furnishing the home and running costs.

“We are very pleased with the government support we have for this initiative,” says Pontikis.

“Special thanks to the Deputy Ministers who are strong voices for us.  The Ministry of Labour has also committed to help as has the Office of Social Integration.  All are recognizing how important this is.”

One of the highlights of the evening was a musical performance by Christos Kasoulides, a talented musician who is on the autism spectrum. Christos played violin and sang traditional Cypriot songs. He is a candidate for independent living at the group homes.

Another highlight of the event was the Lidl Vantatistic Canteen, a mobile van that served drinks. George Kapodistrias also on the spectrum, served drinks to partygoers the entire evening.

Autism 2
Autism 2

Lidl supermarkets sponsored the event and donated all food.  Other donors include Photos Photiades Distributors, Regis Ice Cream and Debbies Cookies.

The two houses are made possible by a generous donation from the Island Oil (Holdings) Group.

They houses are next to each other, centrally located and close to amenities. They will serve as prototypes for future assisted-living homes with 24-hour care.

The model is one whereby the NGO, with its expertise and experience with autism, creates a home for autistic individuals. It will be a place called home, will focus on individual needs, and provide a stimulating and supportive environment.

There is is an urgent need for such homes.

The immediate goals of the NGO are:

  • To create group homes providing independent and supported living services.
  • To provide employment opportunities.
  • To create and support programs that maximize the potential of young people with autism.
  • To transform the national landscape for young adults with disabilities

—Voice for Autism: Advocacy & Action is a registered NGO and non-profit that provides advocacy and support for young adults with disabilities to build meaningful, connected lives. We work to advance independence, productivity and inclusion, and advocate for improved public and private policies.

www.voiceforautism.org

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