A seminar was organized at the Jahangir Siddiqui Auditorium at IBA City Campus, Karachi, on 19th October to mark the opening of Autism Spectrum Welfare Trust Office at Karachi and to launch Autism Awareness Campaign in Sindh.
The Seminar was opened by a welcome address by Ms. Rukhsana Shah, Chairperson of the Trust, who spoke about the lack of awareness about autism and learning disabilities among doctors, teachers and parents all over Pakistan, and lauded the efforts of the government of Sindh in this field. She appreciated the role of the Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation (MJSF) who sponsored the setting up of the Autism Trust in Lahore in 2015, as well as funded the Karachi Office which opened on the 1st of October this year.
In her inaugural speech, Mahvash Jahangir Siddiqui, Chairperson MJSF gave a brief background of the work done by the Foundation all over Pakistan. This was followed by an address by the Chief Guest, Dr. Zulfiqar Shallwani, secretary to the government of Sindh for Special Education.
Dr. Shallwani enumerated the efforts of the government of Sindh in the field not only of autism, but all disabilities in general. He said that in April, the first Autism Centre was set up in Karachi at the existing Special Education Centre in Gulistan-e-Johar. In other parts of Sindh, we are also setting up a similar Centre for Down’s syndrome and Neuro Developmental Disorders in which medical colleges and DHQ hospitals would be involved to ensure sustainability and growth of the Centre.
The key-note address on Autism was delivered by Dr. Irum Rizwan, a pioneer in the field of Autism in Karachi, who also runs the Autism Unit at Dow University of Health Sciences. This was followed by a presentation on ADHD by Dr. Salma Khalil, a discussion on Learning Disabilities by Ms. Sanam Hafeez, and Overview of Trainings for ASD management by Ms. Asma Ahmad, followed by a detailed discussion.
The seminar was attended by about 200 teachers of special and mainstream schools, doctors, parents, professionals and prominent members of the civil society.
The Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been working towards healthcare, education and social enterprise through sustainable development to underprivileged members of society with a special focus on women, minorities, children and disabled individuals. Foundation’s goal is to promote economic development and to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential.