Nine-year-old autistic artist, Kanyeyachukwu Tagbo-Okeke, has emerged winner of the social bravery category of the 2019 Indomie Independence Day Heroes Awards.
The annual Indomie Independence Day Award (IIDA) organised by Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie noodles brand, is an initiative designed to celebrate children with acts of bravery with awards of heroism and bravery in three categories including intellectual bravery, social bravery and physical bravery.
Limited in verbal skills, Kanye was diagnosed with autism at age three and half but was noticed to be exceptional in art.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), according to autismspeaks.org, refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.
According to his mother, Mrs. Tagbo-Okeke, they noticed that Kanye started drawing on walls and any surface he could find; so, he was enrolled in an art class, which further helped him to communicate with his painting as his emotions are reflected in his works.
Kanye, a year four student of Aduvie International School in Abuja help other autistic kids by raising awareness about autism.
He won the sum of N1million scholarship award in the social bravery category at the 12th edition of the event, which held on Saturday at Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos. He got additional donations from kind-hearted individuals and corporate organizations.
Daily Trust gathered that last year, Kanye was given the ‘Flame of Peace International Award’ for his outstanding work in art by the Arch-Duke and Arch-Duchess of Austria in Vienna, which made him the youngest awardee ever.
He was also made a fellow of the Association, because of his outstanding work.
Also, in an event organized by his family in April this year in Abuja, Kanye’s artworks were given out for auction and most of the proceeds went to other kids who are on the autism spectrum but could not afford the needed therapy.
Thirteen-year-old Yahaya Zaki from Sokoto state who risked his life by entering into a well to rescue a little girl who had slipped and fell inside won the physical bravery category of award while the Intellectual bravery award went to 14-year-old aspiring mechanical engineer, Anthony Lawrence from Imo state who constructed a functioning prototype police patrol van from used carton boxes, glue and electronic components he scavenged from waste bins.
The duo went home with a cheque of N1million scholarship each from Dufil Prima Foods Plc.
With the emergence of this year’s set of winners, a total of 42 winners have been rewarded over the 12 years of the initiative.
In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer, Tolaram Group West Africa, Mr. Pawan Sharma, said the initiative was established to fill the gap that exists in celebrating and rewarding positive efforts, strong character and achievements of many young children who have exhibited various acts of courage and heroism at one time or the other within the country.
“This event is noteworthy as it is in consonance with the core values and deep rooted belief of our company and the brand (Indomie) that in every child lies what it takes to become great.
“Dufil Prima Foods will always celebrate children who serve as change agents in their respective communities and beyond.
Also, in his keynote address at the event titled ‘Equipping the Nigerian child for innovation in a climate of accelerated global advancement’, a charismatic human rights advocate, Mr. Segun Awosanya described children as innovators, change makers, and world changers.