Maha Helali

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Maha Helali was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Maha is helping people with autism reach their full potential by providing the support and services necessary to help them become more independent and active members of society. She provides these individuals with necessary skills pertaining to adaptation, vocation, academic education, and other general abilities that will enable them to better function and enjoy more freedom in their lives. These services, along with her parallel efforts to increase awareness and change discriminatory laws and practices through media campaigns, will enable people with special needs to be included in society and accorded their full human rights.
To ensure the full inclusion of people with autism, Maha is working to change attitudes towards autism. By engaging parents, medical professionals, teachers, trainers, and society at large in workshops, training of trainers programs, seminars and short courses, she educates people about the disorder and teaches them how to better interact with autistic people in a structured and appropriate manner. Through national events, conferences, and the designation of April as Autism Awareness Month, Maha has deconstructed long-lasting cultural taboos and candidly advocated on behalf of those suffering from autism.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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