The Autism and Rare Diseases Awareness (ARDA) outreach programme at the Centre for Health Ecologies and Technology (CHET), IIACD, Bangalore was launched in 2009. ARDA’s goal is to generate awareness of Autism and other rare/neglected diseases/disorders through its workshops, seminars, exhibitions, film screenings. ARDA team also works with other colleagues at CHET in empowering patient communities through health literacy programs to make informed choices and promote wellbeing.
ARDA’s advocacy team works closely with patient advocacy communities, doctors, public health workers, aganwadi workers, state agencies, village councils and other key stakeholders. Using innovative use of the arts, new media and technologies, ARDA team supports medical humanities researchers and the creative team at CHET in documenting and self representation of personal experiences and narratives of people with rare diseases and disorders.
To commemorate Global Rare Disease Day and generate awareness of rare diseases on March 1, 2016, CHET’s ARDA outreach programme organized the Blue Ribbon Art Exhibition and Film festival 2016. This was the first art exhibition and film festival in India focusing on rare diseases and we aim to make it an annual event. more > >
IIACD’s ARDA team partnered with Autism Society of India (ASI) and parents of children with Autism in organizing the second World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD 02) events in Bangalore on April 2nd, 2009. ARDA curatorial team conceptualized and curated an Art 4 Autism exhibition at Alliance Francaise, Bangalore with paintings and poetry by children with Autism. Crafts and other creative output of people with Autism were exhibited and sold at this event by several organizations.
ARDA team collaborated with ASI in organizing expert panel discussions on Autism at Alliance Francaise and Chancery Hotel. The panelists included experts and parents. Awareness was also spread through artworks and creative performances of talented children with Autism. Kirtana Kumar, a leading theatre artist was invited by IIACD's ARDA team to read out excerpts of Tito Mukhopadhyay’s writings.
ARDA team undertook the responsibility of organizing the venue, food and raised the funds for all the WAAD 02 events with support from government agencies, corporate and individual sponsors. Private sponsors included Strand Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, Chancery Hotel, KC Das and several individuals. The creative performaces, art exhibition and panel discussions helped promote positive perceptions about people with Autism and highlighted the multiple challenges faced by people with autism and their caregivers.
ARDA initiated an Art 4 Autism fundraising drive via social media which helped raise awareness about Autism.