The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare inaugurated the residences during an event organized by the autism community
The official opening of its two new homes for people with autism in the Municipality of Lakatamia was held by the Voice for Autism NGO, on October 2, 2023, a few days after the installation of the first tenants. The event was held under the auspices of the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Mr. Marilena Evangelou, while the tenants themselves helped prepare and serve the drinks and food, also taking care of the musical entertainment.
The Deputy Minister congratulated Voice for Autism for its pioneering initiative and added that the ministry will support the organization and individuals on the autism spectrum, while promoting the development of a national strategy for people with autism.
The residences are the first in Nicosia intended for people on the autism spectrum and are a shining proof of the NGO's commitment to offer the people of this community independence, a sense of inclusion in society as well as opportunities for social participation.
The co-founder and President of Voice for Autism, Ellen Georgiou Pontikis, stated that the event that took place in the group homes was more than just an opening event: “Today we celebrate the installation of our first tenants, but – even more – we express our gratitude to all those who supported us and understand the need that Cyprus has for such projects”.
“We would like to extend our warm thanks to the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities which does an amazing job and which has significantly supported us in the realization of our vision, and to the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Marilena Evangelou, who is always at the side of persons with disabilities autism. A big thank you also to our sponsor Island Oil, who has been by our side since day one and shares our vision for a civil society where people with disabilities can have a good life, fulfilling their goals and dreams.”
The operation of the group homes was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the European Social Fund (ESF+), the Department for the Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, and the Government. The two residences are a generous donation of the Island Oil Group (Holdings). They are located next to each other, in a central location and with access to various services. It is noted that the specific houses will be a model for future assisted living homes, with 24-hour care. They are based on a specific model developed by Voice for Autism, which has a wealth of expertise, training and experience in autism. The homes belong to these individuals and will focus on their individual needs, providing an environment that will inspire and support them.
One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of Christos Kasoulidis who is a person with autism and a talented musician, who transported the attendees with his music, with his violin and favorite traditional Cypriot songs. He will move into the second group home.
The immediate goals of the NGO are:
- The creation of housing that will provide independent and supported living services
- Providing opportunities employment and social inclusion
- The development and support of programs that will multiply the possibilities of young people with autism
- The change of the institutional framework for people with autism
H Voice for Autism: Advocacy & Action is a registered not-for-profit organization that advocates and supports young adults with autism, helping them build meaningful, socially integrated lives. The NGO works to promote their independence, productivity and social inclusion and advocates for the improvement of related public and private policies.
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