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Action in Autism (NPO) will host its annual market on Saturday, 10 December, at their premises, 105 Haig Road, Parkhill, Durban North from 9 am to 2 pm.  This has become a much-anticipated annual event that the students of the Action in Autism’s Shahumna Centre, a skills transfer and business hub, have been hard at work, preparing for.

The Shahumna Centre offers a three-year skills and entrepreneurship programme for autistic adults. The programme focuses on areas such as food preparation and catering, horticultural crop gardening and indigenous plant propagation, and arts and crafts. “The students of the Centre have developed their skills to plan, prepare and manage the various steps associated with a successful market,” said Ashvir Dalu, manager of the Shahumna Centre. “The academic curriculum offers theoretical knowledge on running a business and this market provides them with an opportunity to engage with the community and put into practice the skills they have learnt. The support of the community is pivotal to the success of the market.”

The organisation is calling on the local community and the greater Durban area to support the market, and our autistic students. This market is a step towards promoting an inclusive, neurodiverse society that is accepting of autistic people.

Simon Grobler, an autistic student at the centre, commented “Our market is a place where people of neurodiverse backgrounds can experience an exciting day with family and friends, while also shopping for different items and food. It enables us as neurodiverse individuals to interact with others on a professional level and financially support this organisation that ultimately supports neurodiverse people.”

Action in Autism’s other flagship projects includes an Early Learning Intervention Centre which provides early intervention and therapy for infants and children in a non-discriminatory, first come first serve basis. The organization’s Assessment and Therapy Wing provides comprehensive assessments and therapies and caters for all.

The market aims to raise funds essential for the operational costs of the organisation, and to continue the services offered, which include, a quarterly free diagnostic clinic, a bi-annual skills transference workshop for parents, educators and professionals, and a walk-in resource centre that provides support for parents and caregivers of autistic people.

Patrons of the market can indulge in the delicious baked goods prepared by the food production students, select fresh produce and succulent planters grown by the plant propagation team, browse through pre-loved clothing and homeware, purchase Christmas presents, and décor created by the arts and craft students, enjoy a jumping castle and simply have fun in the kiddies zone. The market will also have external vendors present, adding to the variety of items that will be on sale.

Action in Autism welcomes your support through a cash donation or resources, or through volunteering your services. If you would like to attend the market, make a donation of pre-loved clothing, plants, or household goods, book a table to trade, or for more information about the market, please call 031 563 3039, email info@actioninautism.org.za or ashvir@actioninautism.org.za.

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