Taking the Lead for World Autism Awareness Day

Every year on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day recognizes those affected with autism. While there is a day dedicated to shedding light on issues of autism, some of our hotels work year-round with organizations to help children in their communities with autism.

For four years, Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou has sponsored the Little Sun Autism Children Recovery Centre, a learning center for children between ages three and seven with autism or hearing impairments. In 2011, the hotel’s charitable efforts were concentrated on upgrading the center’s fire safety system, fans, classrooms and exercise rooms. In 2012, focus shifted towards teacher training classes and funding for students from low-income backgrounds. In 2013 and 2014, the hotel helped build facilities in its extension building and helped sponsor three students per year so they could benefit from the center.

Also in 2014, Philip Dewar, general manager at Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou, led a volunteer team to deliver brand-new tables, toys, computers and other learning equipment to the center.

Later that year, the hotel was proud to unveil a completely renovated facility with an upgraded Fire Life Safety System, including five new fire extinguishers and seven emergency exit lights, as well as washroom facilities and re-floored classrooms. After the unveiling, the hotel’s Fire Life Safety Manager taught fire safety training and a full evacuation fire drill for Little Sun teachers, parents and children. In 2015, the hotel will donate funds raised through various programs to upgrade the center’s kitchen.

Since Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou’s involvement, the hotel has been able to send twenty teachers from the center to professional development courses to further their education, and the drop-out rate of students at the center has been reduced by 66%.

Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian also recognizes the importance of education quality and the impact it has for students. To address this, Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian works with the Dalian Little Dolphin Recovery Centre, to provide those with autism with financial help and life care support. With the hotel’s support, the center sent some of its teachers to Hong Kong, Beijing and other cities in China in 2013 and 2014 to receive training to better provide for the children. In July 2014, the hotel donated RMB60,000 (over US $9,500) to help the center upgrade the center’s outdoor recreation facilities with a new plastic ground mat and rain shed to give the children a safer playground.

Since 2009, Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian has held a Winter Charity Ball every year to benefit the center. In 2014, nearly 660 guests attended the Winter Charity Ball, which raised about RMB130,000 (about US $21,000) for the center.

Thank you to Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou and Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian for your commitment to helping those with autism in your communities. Other Shangri-La hotels, including Shangri-La Hotel, Shenzhen, are also helping their communities by participating in local autism awareness programs leading up to World Autism Awareness Day.