Sokong Team
Tue Apr 23 2024

GMBB Leads in Autism Awareness Month

This article features :

The United Nations has designated April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness and promote understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, or autism for short. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how people communicate and interact with others around them.

Throughout April, various initiatives and events are organised worldwide to highlight the experiences and challenges of people living with autism.

Malaysia is no exception, and to mark the month, GMBB, a creative community mall situated on Jalan Robertson in Bukit Bintang, hosts the "It's Okay To Be Different" event on 20th April.

What's Happening on "It's Okay To Be Different"

Attendees can anticipate several engaging events throughout the day, including a workshop led by Ms. Catherine, an expert in supporting individuals with learning disabilities and ASD integration into the workforce. This session will run from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at The Robertson, Level 6. Additionally, there will be an "It's Okay To Be Different" Bazaar on the Ground Floor from 12 pm to 6 pm, showcasing diverse vendors. Art exhibitions by special needs artists will also be on display at LapanGaia Gallery (2nd Floor), Yi Woon Art Shack, MingHoong Gallery, Shana Lim Art Gallery, and Alicia Lee Gallery (3rd floor).

Organised in collaboration with Mr. JC Lee and Sokong as the media partner, the "It's Okay to be Different" Bazaar features vendors with meaningful stories to share and aims to build a more inclusive society for those on the spectrum.

"We've brought together autism activist advocates like Stand Pie Me, Pokokon, Spectrum, Miles Autism Academy, Bloomers and many more to be at the Bazaar."

"It's an opportunity for the public to get to know autism, and for people who are living with family members who have been diagnosed with ASD so that they may learn what are the services and assistance available," said Mr JC Lee, who is collaborating with GMBB as venue host and Sokong as digital fundraising platform and media partner, to put this year's event together.


Mr. Lee is passionately dedicated to empowering young adults with autism by assisting with initiatives to secure meaningful employment opportunities. He is also known to tirelessly support the expansion of social enterprises and NGOs committed to serving this community, ensuring they flourish and offer even more avenues for employment to those with autism.

GMBB Does Its Part in Promoting Autism Awareness.

This year's "It's Okay To Be Different" is the second time the event has been held at GMBB. Last year's inaugural event focused on artists on the spectrum, showcasing their work with other artists. It also featured workshops as opportunities to interact with the public.

"This year, we are collaborating with Mr. JC Lee through our shared commitment and vision to bring awareness and acceptance to this community," said Ms. Lim Ying Hui, GMBB's General Manager.

"There will be a wide range of vendors at our Bazaar, including those providing intervention and behavioural therapy to young kids with autism, providing living skills and vocational training to young adults, and featuring autistic artists," she said.

"The Impossible Possible Art Exhibition at Level 3 is ongoing until 30 April, featuring nine talented special needs artists: Alicia Lee, Aveen, Ho Hao Yee, Neoh Yi Woon, Ng Chee Hoong, Ng Chee Ming, Ng YiShen, Shana Lim, and Thong Kah Wei," Ms. Lim added.

Ms. Lim said the intention is to continue organising this event every year, whether under the "It's Okay To Be Different" title or any other title that may be more fitting.

Media Partner in Sokong, a Malaysiakini Initiative

This year's "It's Okay To Be Different" event is supported by Sokong, a digital fundraising platform initiated by Malaysiakini, the leading online media platform.

M Eshwaren, Sokong's Project Manager, emphasised the platform's commitment to empowering the Malaysian public. He stated, "Malaysiakini has been delivering comprehensive coverage on social and environmental issues for over two decades. With Sokong, we amplify that coverage and further our dedication to empowering the Rakyat."

Sokong aims to make charitable giving more accessible for Malaysians, providing an inclusive space for individuals to actively participate in creating social impact.

"Anticipate a blend of interactive learning and an inclusive community art project that captivates both children and adults alike at the bazaar, so do come," he added.

At the Sokong booth, visitors can engage in various activities:

  1. Community Art Project: Contribute your piece to a collaborative puzzle.
  2. Digital Autism Awareness Quest: Visitors can take a simple quiz to enhance their understanding and knowledge of the autism spectrum.
  3. Stand Pie Me Fundraising Campaign: Learn about the campaign's impact and make donations.

About GMBB

GMBB is a creative community mall that believes in meaning-making by doing #MoreTogether with creatives, artists, artisans and the public. Featuring a gradually growing arts and culture enclave in the heart of KL, a bookstore dedicated to local picture books, and unique galleries showcasing Malaysian shadow puppets (wayang kulit), immersive photography about the Borneo rainforest, a collective of independent artist studios and more, GMBB is dedicated to providing Malaysian creative and cultural arts an enterprising platform to #MakeMore.

According to the National Autism Society Of Malaysia, citing the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, every 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. That would mean that approximately 9,000 children in Malaysia are born with autism every year. The diagnosed cases in Malaysia, according to CodeBlue, has grown five fold from 2010 to 2021.

by malaysiakini

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