Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saima received International Champion award for work on autism in South-East-Asia

  • New York Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-07-26 10:57:32 BdST


A US organisation has awarded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s daughter, Saima Wazed Hossain, the prestigious International Champion Award for spearheading a campaign on mental health and autism in Bangladesh.

Hossain, better known by her nickname Putul, is Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh, and is also part of Shuchona Foundation, which works on mental health issues. She is also a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on mental health.

The award was given at the annual breakfast program of ‘Shema Kolainu’, a school and centre for autistic children and its international collaborator ‘I Care For Autism’. Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh’s permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nation received the award on behalf of Hossain.

Shema Kolainu is the first autism centre and school in New York. According to the website the school was established in 1998, and is a nonpublic, nonprofit, nondenominational, multi-cultural school that offers a broad spectrum of evidence-based education and therapeutic programs to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities in a warm and nurturing environment.

While receiving the award, ambassador Momen said, “The World Health Organization has declared Saima Wazed Hossain as ‘Global Renowned Champion’. In addition, the Southeast Asian Regional Office appointed Saima as the ‘Goodwill ambassador’ for autism to 11 countries in the region. Prior to this, they awarded her the prestigious ‘Excellence in Public Health Award’ in 2014.”

Momen also said that establishing the autism related ‘Dhaka Declaration’ and South Asian Autism Network has highlighted autism as a major issue in the region and beyond.

He later read out a message from Saima Wazed in the program where Saima said, “I am honoured for the recognition that Shema Kolainu gave me. Like this school, I have been working to create opportunities and planned comprehensive training for the autistic in Bangladesh and Asia.”

“Autism is not confined by any religious, culture and socio-economic limitations. That is why special services and programs are needed for the betterment of these people’s lives. As a goodwill ambassador of the World Health Organization, I want to work with everyone to develop autism network,” she added in the message.

Besides Saima, New York City Council Members Brad Lander, Mark Levine, and speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s community liaison office worker Jenny Burger and Colby Heard, a nine-year autistic child was rewarded.

The boy, Colby Heard, risked his own life to save a drowning child in a Florida pond.

The recipients were also given paintings by autistic children.