GPL donates $500k to Step by Step Foundation

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The Step by Step Foundation can look forward to an enhanced autism programme with the support of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. as the power company on Friday presented a $500,000 cheque to commemorate its 22nd anniversary celebrations.

The cheque was presented to the foundation’s Vice Chair, Cynthia Massay by GPL’s Confidential Secretary Sherryann Mingo in the presence of the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr. Marcel Hudson at the Ministry of Education’s Head Office on Brickdam.

GPL’s Public Relations Officer Natalie Pinder explained that the foundation caught the attention of the company because it shines a light on the rare condition of autism.

“…So our partnership is really to bring awareness to the cause, bring awareness to autism and to help persons understand the importance of getting tested and also to bring focus on the good work being done by the Foundation,” Pinder said.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chair, Massay expressed gratitude to GPL for their contribution to the foundation, noting that it will help to provide better awareness of the prevalence of autism in Guyana.

“I congratulate you on your corporate social responsibility because as you heard, Step By Step Foundation has been working with the Ministry of Education, raising funding.

“We can understand how difficult it is to manage a school, provide for tutors and students while raising funds so we are extremely grateful to GPL for all the support being given to us,” the Vice-Chair remarked.

Meanwhile, Dr Hudson commented that stakeholders like GPL can play a meaningful role in pushing the Education Ministry’s developmental agenda, part of which addresses the needs of autistic children.

“This is the kind of spirit that we need if we really want to see education be financed in a big way in this country and what I would like to see is more corporate businesses coming on board to help move education forward,” he stated.

He explained too that the Ministry of Education’s Special Needs Unit also deals with autism, and looks at how autistic children could be helped to help them lead normal lives.

“Part of the Ministry of Education’s strategic plan has to do with making sure that our children who have special education needs, that those needs are attended to strategically so that those children also could fulfil potential because we learned a long time ago that notwithstanding the condition or the situation that the child may be facing, each child is born gifted,” he stated.

Autism and autism spectrum disorder are both general terms for a group of complex brain development disorders.  Autism includes a wide range, or what is commonly referred to as a spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability.

Persons on the autism spectrum often have these characteristics: ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, repetitive behaviours as well as limited interests or activities, symptoms that typically are recognized in the first two years of life and symptoms that hurt the individual’s ability to function socially, at school or work, or other areas of life.

Some people are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. Treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function.

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