Beauty Kumesine is the founder ofBlazing Heart Autism Center (BHAC).

With over 12 years of experience working with children who have developmental difficulties, she has specialized her abilities and knowledge in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related diseases.
Beauty is an outspoken advocate and public speaker who talks from the heart.

Beauty serves on many boards as a director and advisory , and  contributes to the capacity building of her community; for her, each child is important. Every youngster can find hope and assistance.

For the past 12 years, Heart Autism Center has been willing and ready to do more for parents and children.

In this interview with Women of Rubies, she shares her journey.

Tell us about your growing up

Growing up for me was fun, I remember vividly sharing my stuff and also time with a lot of children at different times with who didn’t have what to eat, didn’t wear the kind of cloths I wore or even have what I had then.
I’d take my stuff and give them. When they came to my neighborhood,I’d take them to my mum and introduce them as my friends (I really didn’t know them) and she’d feed them for me and we’d play for long hours before they’ll go back home.
My early childhood prepared me to help people but I was too young to realize what I was doing. Looking back, I’m glad I had the kind of upbringing I had. Thanks to my lovely parents and brothers.

What inspired you to start BHAC?

After my university education, I met a friend who introduced me to Special Needs. I didn’t know that I’d become immersed deeply in this but I am grateful to be here and contribute my quota to humanity.

BHAC was born out of passion. Passion has lead to commitment and consistency and it is my honest prayer that somehow, someday, I see the children who I cater to make visible positive progress and live an independent life.

You spent 2 years learning how to deal with people with ASD, what  were some of the life lessons you learnt during this time?

Learning is a part of life. You grow everyday. The first two years of my Special Needs journey, I spent it unlearning what I initially knew about persons with special needs, changing my personal narrative and understanding about special needs and also relearning the NEW for me.

I am still learning as I see new things and have new experiences with the children I cater to.

Kindly tell us more about your PortharcourtWalk4Autism initiative, an it’s impact since inception?

PortHarcourtwalkfor4Autism is a unique roadshow initiative that was birthed out of the very peculiar need of the region I reside. The awareness level of ASD is low and hence understanding and acceptance is almost zero when BHAC started. I saw myself explaining to people on a daily basis and personally advocating everyday and everywhere I went. I need us to reach a larger audience and so we started the road show PortHarcourtwalk4Autism and as the name says, we want Port Harcourt to hear about ASD, Understand it and that way, our children and families who have individuals with ASD will be accepted in the society without discrimination and stigmatization.

You’ve been running BHAC for 12 amazing years, How has the journey  been so far ?

The journey has been challenging but very rewarding. It gives me joy to see that the children we serve at BHAC thrive and make progress no matter how minute that progress is.

What are some of the challenges of your work?

Like in every sphere of human existence, challenges faced by us at work range from human capacity as we have struggled in the past creating a great and commuted work force.

We have and are also facing the challenges of FUNDING and also expectations from the families we serve.

Could you kindly tell us some of your other projects and activities.

We create awareness in the urban and rural areas, constant capacity building for our team members, research and daily interventions for individuals with ASD.

Kindly mention 3 women who inspire you to be better and why?

My Mother Mrs Florence Anwuri- I cannot over emphasis this because my mother is a role model to me and she inspires me to be better everyday. I thank her for all she has been and is to me.
Mrs Dotun Akande- She is honest, focused and also a person builder. Mrs Akande has held my hands tight and always comes through for me personally and also BHAC. She always reminds me that I can do whatever I set my mind on. I love her and she knows but I’m making this official….I Love you Mrs Dotun Akande.
Do you think Nigerians are well informed on how to deal with people  living autism?
Nigerians in my opinion are not informed on how to deal with people living with Autism.
There’s still a lot of misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and mismanagement of people who have ASD in Nigeria and the information channels are limited.

Awareness is growing but it’s more in the urban areas than in the rural areas. We need to think of ways to get this awareness to the rural areas and the sooner the better.

If you were to address parents with kids living with ASD, who are  finding it hard navigating parenting, what would you tell them?

The challenges parents face can’t be overemphasized. Parenting is difficult and having a child or children with ASD is challenging on its own and the society we live in doesn’t make it easy for parents.
I hope that we help build a community free of discrimination and stigmatization where love and support thrives so that parents can also mitigate their challenges and live long for their children.

Beauty Kumesine
Special Needs Coordinator
Autism Advocate
SLST,AC, RBT+234-803-885-2183, +234-802-9998-880Every Child can Learn,Not just in the same way…Progress isn’t always Measured on Paper….


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