Nhat Tan Bridge's blue lights. — Hoang Lan Huong
(Hanoi, Vietnam - April 3, 2021) – For three days a beautiful blue light shone bright from some of the most iconic structures and properties developed by Sun Group in Vietnam as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about autistic spectrum disorders.
The "Light It Up Blue” (LIUB) campaign is an annual event spearheaded by Autism Speaks, an international organisation that aims to help communities worldwide to better understand and accept those who are on the autism spectrum.
This is the third year, Sun Group – one of Vietnam’s premier developers of tourism real estate and luxury residential projects – has supported Autism Speaks’ meaningful campaign, which coincides with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. This year, Sun Group decided to extend their contribution to the campaign, switching on blue lights at numerous properties and structures from 6pm to 10pm from April 1 to April 3, 2021.
At the same time every evening, the following landmark structures and properties all turned on ‘blue lights’: Nhat Tan Bridge, Sun Grand City Thuy Khue Residence and Sun Grand City Ancora Residence in Hanoi; Bai Chay Bridge, the Sun Wheel in the Sun World Halong Complex in Ha Long; and the Sun Wheel in Asia Park and Novotel Danang Premier Han River Hotel in Danang.
First launched in 2010, ‘The "Light It Up Blue" annual campaign has grown into a major global event. On April 2 every year, thousands of buildings and schools around the world and famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building in New York, the Chenghuang Museum in China and the Sydney Opera House, as well as the tallest buildings in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, and even the Niagara Falls in Canada all turn blue in support of the autistic community and their families. In Vietnam, a growing number of individuals, businesses and organisations have been supporting the campaign in recent years.
In particular, Sun Group has utilised their resources to bring this event to a whole new level in Vietnam, calling upon the support of local authorities to grant the developer special permission to light up major structures such as Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi and Bai Chay Bridge in Halong.
“By joining hands with Autism Speaks to support the "Light It Up Blue" campaign over the past three years, we have had a chance to recognise that besides the difficulties people from this community experience when it comes to learning and communication, one of the most challenging problems they face is society's lack of awareness,” said Bui Thi Thanh Huong, CEO of Sun Group.
The Sun Wheel in Ha Long switch on blue lights for autistic people
She added: "By lighting up some of our most recognised landmarks with the colour blue, which is associated with the autistic community, we hope to play our part in raising society's awareness, so that everyone will have a more correct and clearer understanding of people from this community, so they can treat autistic individuals with love and respect."
According to Ngo Duong, a representative of the "Light It Up Blue" campaign in Vietnam, an incorrect understanding about the autism syndrome can lead to discrimination, unfounded criticism and hurt the families and caretakers of people on the autism spectrum. This in turn can have detrimental effects on the education and social integration of autistic people, making matters even more challenging for families and caretakers.
"Attracting attention and raising social awareness about autism is challenge that requires us to engage in a long battle on behalf of the autistic community,” said Duong.
"In Vietnam, Sun Group is one of the few long-term supporters that offers help in this battle for awareness. We truly appreciate Sun Group's participation, choosing to raise awareness through their own work is Sun Group's choice and it clearly sends a message of love and acceptance.
"Sun Group's contributions to LIUB are greatly appreciated by Autism Speaks. We hope that this message is spread more widely all over the world."
One parent of an autistic child, who is also a member of the Embrace Autism Vietnam group, said: "When I saw landmarks in Hanoi turn blue, I was so touched. That makes us feel like we are cared for, and that we are not alone on our journey to battle this disability.
"Now I also have more hope that when people know more about this disability, they will have more understanding, acceptance and respect toward people from the autistic community."
According to the 2020 statistics from the America Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in every 54 of the whole population are autistic. Currently in Vietnam there is still no official number of autistic people, however, 2009 statistics of the Ministry of Labour revealed about 200,000 Vietnamese had been diagnosed as autistic, and, according to the Central Paediatric Hospital, more and more children are being diagnosed and treated for autism.
Raising awareness about autism and urging communities to give more support to the autistic community will remain a major goal of the LIUB campaign in the coming years. Aside from the LIUB event, volunteers from the Vietnamese autism support community regularly write articles promoting awareness as well as offering advice on how to respectfully treat autistic people in social situations, and also inform parents of autistic children how they can complete administrative procedures for their children to receive disability certification and receive social welfare.
Sun Wheel at Asia Park, Da Nang lights blue
Novotel Danang Premier Han River Hotel lights up in blue