Saudi Arabia’s Society of Autism Families (SAF) announced launch of its first Autism Endowment Fund in cooperation with the General Authority for Awqaf (GAA), with assets worth SAR50 million. The fund aims to achieve sustainable financing of autism-focused projects and to contribute significantly to gap bridging and quality of life enhancement for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families through specific high-quality service-driven projects.
To mark the launch event, the Chairman of the Society of Autism Families, Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Farhan Al Saud, said that since establishment, SAF has been keen on directly studying and analyzing the specific needs of people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. It has always been committed to supporting them to overcome any difficulties they may have; adding that the creation and contribution to the endowment fund will showcase our social solidarity in supporting this precious group enlightened by the hadith (saying) of the Prophet, peace be upon him: “The likeness of believers in their kindness, compassion and empathy for each other is that of one body; if an organ of it falls ill, the rest of the body responds with fever and sleeplessness.”
Prince Saud added that endowment funds are a long-term financial sustainability solution for non-profit organizations. This fund, however, is the first joint fund to be licensed by the General Authority for Awqaf (GAA).
He concluded his statement by saying that fund’s spending will focus mainly on serving people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. He also added that the number of people with ASD is rapidly increasing, given that care for such cases is very expensive and costly, especially with the current lack of services provided to them.
SAF expects that investment in its fund will exceed SAR150,000,000. The funds will be spent on accommodation centers, sensory rooms in the Great Mosque of Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, educational and rehabilitation programs, specialized medical clinics and other projects.
It is noteworthy that the fund features a wide variety of investments. The coordination committee of the Society of Autism Families will spearhead coordination with other specialized societies operating in Saudi Arabia.