Sunday, April 24, 2005

Autism Awareness Campaign highly commended by prestigious Beacon Prize 2004

Ivan and Charika Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK have been highly commended after being nominated for the prestigious Beacon Prize 2004 for their philanthropic achievements. The Beacon Awards (given by the Beacon Fellowship Charitable Trust) were recently announced in London.

Beacon is a charitable initiative to raise the the profile of philanthropy in the UK, awarding the Beacon Prize to individuals whose giving, be it their time, their money, or their expertise, inspires others to do more.

Ivan and Charika Corea were nominated their contribution to raising awareness of autism spectrum disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. Their efforts have been personally backed by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats. They initiated the largest ever movement for autism in the UK and launched 2002 as Autism Awareness Year supported by 800 UK organisations. The Judges applauded their work and they have received the Beacon Highly Commended Award Certificate for Leadership, second only to Sir Bob Geldof who was the winner in the Leadership category.

‘We were thrilled with the quality of the nominations received this year, reflecting the full depth and extent of charitable activity in the UK,’ commented Emily Stonor, Chief Executive of Beacon. ‘Being highly commended is thus remarkable. Ivan and Charika Corea’s nomination was judged alongside those for prize winners such as Sir Bob Geldof and Jamie Oliver.’

‘We are delighted to recognise Ivan and Charika Corea’s contribution to charity and we hope that their success story will be an inspiration to others,' said the Chief Executive of Beacon.

Ivan Corea said: ‘We are delighted to receive this Beacon Award Highly Commended Certificate. Autism is now an election issue. We have appealed to Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy to take autism seriously and look at providing better public services for the 520,000 people autism and 90,000 children with autism. We still need the twin paths of inclusion in mainstream schools and special schools; we need further education and higher education opportunities for people with autism; special qualifications recognised by employers for young people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome; labour market opportunities for all people with autism and a debate on autism and the elderly. There is still a great deal of suffering for parents, carers and autists and the next Government must move autism up the political agenda and give parents, carers and autists real choice and real opportunity to enable them to rise above the barriers placed before them.’

He urged party leaders to state how they plan to improve public services for parents, carers and autists.

Ivan Corea recently met the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse and presented him with an Autism Awarenss Ribbon. He urged the Government of Sri Lanka to do more for all people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome on the island. They say there are 30,000 autistic children in Sri Lanka. Most of them are kept at home with no real access to education or public services. Quite often autism is confused with mental illness in Sri Lanka. The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka have appealed for public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care for people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

For more information on the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka please see


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