Jail4Bail: raising money for autism

Jail4Bail: raising money for autism
Gerhard Pieterse, Executive Director of Autism Western Cape built a jail cell, had it erected in a local shopping mall, and then presented himself to police officers asking to be arrested. Gerhard was fingerprinted, formally cuffed and transported in the back of a police van to the purpose-built Bayside (and later Canal Walk) shopping mall jail cells. Gerhard spent a total of 74 days and nights in his shopping centre cell watching, being watched by, and interacting with shoppers.

Gerhard's aim was to increase awareness about autism as well as to raise 1 million rand to help people with this disorder.

For those who don't know, autism is a neurological disorder which results in sufferers having impaired social interaction and communication skills. You may recall the movie Forrest Gump or perhaps Rain Man in which lead actors portrayed autistic characteristics. While the disorder is a complex one the people affected are certainly not stupid or unintelligent. From a layman's perspective, they are simply unable to relate socially.

Gerhard spent 74 days and nights in his cell and with support from friends and family raised just over R600 000, which will be put to great use in establishing schools and facilities to help people with this disorder. You're still able to donate to the Jail4Bail cause and I'd encourage you to visit their website to read a little more about the organisation, perhaps donate money, or even discover an alternative way in which you could assist them.

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