Third edition of walking challenge launched to raise awareness on autism

HCMC – The Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren) launched The Steps Challenge 2021 on April 6 to raise awareness on autism spectrum disorder and raise funds for children with autism in disadvantaged circumstances.

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Saigonchildren provides education to a child with autism – PHOTO: SAIGON CHILDREN’S CHARITY

In its third edition, The Steps Challenge has called on the community to partake in an online walking challenge to raise autism awareness. Each registration directly contributes VND130,000 to activities supporting children with autism such as knowledge building for parents, training for practitioners and providing free early intervention therapy for children. 

First launched in 2019, The Steps Challenge has gained widespread recognition in the community by encouraging people to be active for their own health and for the benefit of the society. In the previous two years, the program accumulated over 3 million steps and raised more than VND1 billion, contributing to autism support activities in 2019 and emergency support for children with autism affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

With a registration fee of VND250,000, The Steps Challenge is an opportunity for people of all ages and physical abilities to participate in a meaningful community activity. Participants can select different challenge levels of 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 300,000 steps to be completed within 30 days of registration.

Registration for The Steps Challenge is open until the end of this month. For registration, visit bit.ly/thuthachbuocchan.

On the same day, saigonchildren announced the Vietnam Autism Alliance (VAA), a strategic partnership between organizations with expertise or interest in autism spectrum disorder in Vietnam, and launched a website with information on autism, www.tukylagi.com.

Members of VAA include saigonchildren, the Vietnam Autism Network and experts from the Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, the National Special Education Center – the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences, the HCMC University of Education, the Children’s Hospital 1 and other universities, hospitals and organizations.

With the aim of bringing together organizations and individuals who are experts in their fields related to autism support such as medical, therapy, education, care and technology, VAA fosters awareness on autism support activities so people with autism and their families can access timely and appropriate support.

At the same time, organizations and individuals working in the autism field can coordinate more easily and collaborate in continuing the momentum of support for autism in Vietnam.

According to saigonchildren director Damien Roberts, autism spectrum disorder in Vietnam is still a relatively new issue for the majority of the public.

“Since working at the Saigon Children’s Charity with projects supporting children with autism and their families, we found that general support for autism is still quite fragmented, and a single organization cannot undertake the issue itself,” Roberts shared.

“In order to provide the best support to the people of Vietnam, it is essential to convene all of the parties working to improve research, pedagogy, therapy, intervention and support in the field,” he added.