December 8, 2021

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Only The Finest Women

Maya Kirti Nanan’s bond with autistic brother leads to special needs activism

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Siblings Maya and Rahul Nanan. Maya's Siblings and Friends Network was inspired by her autistic brother. PHOTO COURTESY KAREEM LA BORDE -
Siblings Maya and Rahul Nanan. Maya’s Siblings and Pals Community was encouraged by her autistic brother. Picture COURTESY KAREEM LA BORDE –

At the age of 12, Maya Kirti Nanan, begun an organisation to advocate for, and aid advertise equity for her autistic brother and some others on the autism spectrum.

Six years afterwards, her difficult get the job done was recognised locally when she received the Youth Leadership: Neighborhood Groups Award at the Ministry of Youth Progress and Countrywide Service’s National Youth Awards on Oct 2.

Nanan, 18, is the founder and president of the Siblings and Close friends Network, the youth arm of the NGO, Guidance Autism TT which is registered as the Autism Assistance Network TT.

The Siblings and Close friends Community was also shortlisted for two other categories at this year’s awards such as Most Effective Local community Youth Project for its digital training collection, and its vice president, Celine Frederick, for the Youth Chief Scholar Award (18-35).

Nanan explained to WMN she was quite delighted when the organisation was shortlisted and very pleased that the perform she and the other customers ended up doing was recognised at the countrywide amount.

She mentioned the organisation was nominated by her aunt, Dr Radica Mahase, who is also the founder and director of Aid Autism TT, and a Newsday contributor on autism.

It was Nanan’s very first nomination at the youth awards so she was each astonished and very pleased that she won, and content to be recognised regionally.

Maya Kirti Nanan, Youth Leadership: Community Teams winner in the Countrywide Youth Awards. Nanan founded The Siblings and Buddies Network to advocate for autistic youths. – Image BY AYANNA KINSALE

“I started off the Siblings and Mates Community simply because I needed to build chances for my young brother, Rahul, who is on the autism spectrum. I wished to advocate for inclusion for him and other individuals with disabilities in TT and to build autism consciousness.

“Therefore, we conceptualise and produce all the pursuits we host and be certain they are sensory-friendly and genuinely inclusive for persons with autism.”

Nanan claimed the plan arrived to her when she realised Rahul was not able to do factors or go spots she did even although they have been only 1 12 months apart.

To begin with, she wished to get her friends to interact with men and women on the autism spectrum, as nicely as contain other siblings so they could have a powerful help system.

It commenced with a handful of her close friends. Now, the organisation has more than 350 youth volunteers, ages ten to 25.

“Before covid disrupted our typical routines, the Siblings and Pals Community organised situations and routines during TT, in particular for autistic people. Some of our regular actual physical situations involved our autism Xmas social gathering, autism tea social gathering and style display, autism camps and autism outreach booths which have been organised during the country.

“We held standard fundraising occasions so that all occasions had been free of charge and fiscal guidance is specified to these from lower-cash flow brackets and rural spots so that they can go to.”

One particular popular event was Sensory Santa in collaboration with C3 Centre, San Fernando. The mall would dim the lights, reduced the tunes and set up a Santa in a silent location of the shopping mall for all people today with particular requires.

Countrywide Youth Award winner Maya Kirti Nanan prospects 350 volunteers in her Siblings and Buddies Community. – Photo BY AYANNA KINSALE

Group outreach programmes were held at educational facilities and group centres throughout the region and twice a calendar year she would practice new volunteers, educating them about the community and demonstrating them strategies she figured out living with her brother to offer with men and women with autism.

With the coming of the pandemic and resulting covid19 constraints, physical gatherings could no for a longer period be held. Hence, the organisation made a series of digital gatherings and actions that give guidance to moms and dads and caregivers, highlight the skills of autistic kids, and educate other folks about autism.

In addition, Maya observed how the closure of faculties, deficiency of accessibility to remedy and inaccessibility to social activities led to regression in her brother. She required to assistance him and other autistic small children, so she and her workforce dispersed educational offers comprising sensory and instructional products, digital tablets with apps correct for every single child’s developmental age, customised meals hampers, clinical nutritional supplements, and social media video strategies.

The video clips of the social media marketing campaign, termed Digital Training Venture 2020-2021 are accessible on the organisation’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube web pages.

The recorded and are living films consist of segments these as Artistic Crafters, Pleased Hands Phase, Adventures in Bookland, Let us Discover Colours and Designs, Beneath the Seas Crafts, and Charts Segments, that aid guidebook mothers and fathers and caregivers to interact in academic things to do.

Siblings Maya and Rahul Nanan. Maya shares how to treatment for people with special demands based on the lessons she learnt from Rahul. Photograph COURTESY KAREEM LA BORDE –

Formerly, Nanan attended San Fernando Central Secondary University exactly where she was a member of the school’s Young Leaders and Interact Club in which they usually did tasks dependent on autism. They would also do faculty assemblies, build posters, and offer ribbons to educate the learners and team about autism.

In 2017, her university received the RBC WE Schools opposition where by she gained most outstanding RBC Young Chief as well as a vacation to WE Working day Toronto. She was also the to start with area receiver of the Diana Award in 2020 in recognition of her impact as a youth leader and youth advocate.

At the moment, Nanan attends the College of the West Indies Open up Campus and is researching for a diploma in youth enhancement do the job.

“I want to be able to teach additional youths to be capable to perform with people with specific wants. I also want to be able to develop additional options for youths to go to a lot more training programmes from industry experts.

“Remember, youths are the foreseeable future of the country. They are the future prime minister, president, ministers so when they learn from a young age, we will be ready to have a countrywide adjust in coverage.”

With the Siblings and Pals Network, she also designs to collaborate with ministries, sponsors and other NGOs to open up an autism club household in which autistic individuals could have accessibility to education and learning and therapies.

Nanan explained she would like to attain her targets on her own or while operating at the Ministry of Youth Enhancement. And even though she has not however resolved what or where by she needs to research, she knows her concentration will be on the youth and all those with special desires.



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