Sierra Leone Autistic Society
Commonwealth Point of Light 110. Mary Penn
Mary Penn, representing Sierra Leone, is the founder of the ‘Sierra Leone Autistic Society’ (SLAS) and the ‘Browne-Penn School’, the country’s first ever school for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
The school offers special education programmes to 30 children and has forged close links with Queensmill School in the UK, hosting a number of visits and exchanges to support staff training. Inspired by her own journey as a mother of an autistic child, Mary is also challenging the widespread stigma around autism, supporting over 100 disabled children and their families and raising awareness of autism in successful nationwide campaigns.
Mary was presented with her award at a reception with the new UK High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Mr Simon Mustard.
“I am taken aback to receive this award. It means so much to me and the Sierra Leone Autistic Society. This award will motivate us further to enhance the well being of people living with ASD, their parents and caregivers.”