We are family - Creating a Program of support for neurodivergent refugees from Ukraine
A month ago, I hadn’t heard of Fundacja Prodeste (Prodeste Foundation). Then like many, I saw reports come flooding in of Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Thereafter I fell in to the trap (again) of constantly scanning news outlets, reporters ‘updates’, journalist output - sifting for decent reportage anywhere, everywhere – viewing, reading, viewing, reading (I finally succumbed to reading glasses in the 2nd lockdown last year here in the U. K after monitoring so much online) …. but (again) I wanted to help but how aside from donations and giving time …. This invasion felt less removed more interlinked. I started drawing and came up with a print …it all seemed so little and insignificant (watching humanity stumbling from one bonfire to the next. Squeezing one more marginalized bullied population out or down after the next seems vast).
Then came a request post from Stiof ‘Maqqi’ MacAmhalghaidh a trusted theorist, vastly knowledgeable, encouraging member of the Autistic Neurodivergent community based in Ireland. There was a virtual shout out, messages, a Patreon page and then AU4UA- Autistics 4 Ukraine was born from the need to help Fundacja Prodeste and its founder, Dr Aksa Lawicka, a Psychotherapist & Special Educator from Poland and Autistic herself trying to care for a growing influx of Autistic and otherwise Neurodivergent refugee families and individuals fleeing the very new and explosive war in Ukraine. Maqqi, initially helped Aska create the Patreon page and from there a plan started to grow and while social media accounts were opened to spread information and requests amongst the Autistic Neurodivergent community. Of course, research was needed to give an accurate account.
And to quote:
“It's estimated that over 1% of the Ukrainian population is Âûtistic; that's over 440,000 people. Many with special medical and support needs. The ongoing invasion has left them feeling devastated and desperate. They've had to face so much loss. Gone is the support, the finances and security they had to the frantic need to flee their homes and country. The only silver lining in this situation is that it has brought a much-needed light onto our Ukrainian Âûtistic brothers and sisters.
Organisations and individuals are stepping up, doing whatever they can to help. This may be by sending money to those staying behind or giving to the refugees who are fleeing or have fled. We are seeing a global movement to help the Âûtistic people of Ukraine. Together we can.
In times such as these, it is so important that Âûtistic are not overlooked or forgotten. It's amazing the outpouring of help. It is happening on a scale I have never seen before. Also important, is to remind people that much more help is still needed.”
Those figures alone indicate the huge need potentially being missed in the furious maelstrom of an unnecessary war. Thereafter, the actions of Aska and others have all come together in just over a month and moves us to our current preparations for a special four-hour online training and information event to be held on Sunday 10th April 2022 from 3pm-7pm U.K time: “The event is designed to foster a greater understanding of the Autistic experience. This will be a volunteer run, Autistic run event.” The goal is to help support the work carried out by Fundacja Prodeste in Poland, to aid and support Autistic Refugees, work already being carried out by Aska and her team. Registration details will be posted shortly, so please follow any of our social media accounts for more information:
Aska and her team are already on the case, but need continuing support for:
Or head straight for Fundacja Prodeste Patreon page:
We look forward to seeing you on the 10th April 2022! All welcomed.
Thank you from AU4UA - Autistics 4 Ukraine!