Fashion for a cause

Dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not an easy job in today’s society. For autistic children, it’s harder when there are no career opportunities ahead of them to let them realise their dreams.

To fill this unfair gap and provide future possibilities, ALFAA (Assisted Living for Autistic Adults) recently held a ‘Fashion Show with a Difference’ for these children at Town Hall.

“Education is a means of making someone employable. But some of these children aren’t ready for that and we struggle to train them in life skills. At one point of time, their parents will die. How will they live and look after themselves?” shares a concerned Ruby Singh, director, ALFAA, who is also the mother of an autistic child.

“We’re trying to open up avenues to get them respectable jobs. They can be used as models for still photography for various products. People need to become aware and open their hearts to these children. Despite their disability, they can be lifted to their highest potential with proper training and guidance,” she adds.

At the fashion show, the children sported colourful shirts, trousers, tops, kurtas and churidars.  However, the clothes were secondary compared to their excitement and levels of confidence on stage as the 12 special children held the hands of the college students and walked around waving at the cheering crowd.
Some of them sang a few lines from their favourite songs, while others showed off unique talents. “I want to earn money and work in a bank,” confesses 20-year-old Roohi, who sang ‘My Heart Will Go On’ with a big smile on her face. “It was nice taking part in the show.”

Interestingly, the Students’ Social Responsibility Club of PES College of Business Management was involved, with each autistic child pairing with two of the college students for the last four weekends, while also being accompanied by them on the ramp.

After the walk down the ramp, the students spoke about their special friend and their personal experience learning about autism. “They’re not autistic, but artistic. Before this programme, I used to be scared of autistic people because I hadn’t interacted with one. But they’re like normal teens. They’re very pure hearted and lovable,” notes Darshan B S, one of the college students who also helped raise a corpus fund for the cause. “It was a great experience for all of us. The youth need to stop loafing around and spread awareness regarding this issue,” he wraps up.

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