When she gave birth to her third child, Julienne Kabanda noticed that the challenges of raising a newborn were different from this one –it was more than sleepless nights. “It was a lot to handle. The child would make violent cries often, he would isolate himself from his siblings, and had several other confusing behaviours that were strange to me as a mother that had not experienced something similar before,” she said. After several consultations with different doctors and discovering that her child was battling with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Kabanda who is also a pastor decided to help other parents who weren’t familiar with the disorder, “much that it’s hard for them to accept that their children have autism and instead of helping them, they tend to hide them from people.” During Covid-19 pandemic, she started High Hopes School –a private school recognized by the National Early Childhood Development Program (NECDP) –to deliver specific care and education to these children by professional teachers in this domain as well as create more awareness among parents. According to her, children with such disorders born in financially poor families face more challenges where they are harshly treated by their parents and face community stigma mainly because of lack of awareness and means of helping them. While autism is considered a developmental condition, health experts say that people with autism often experience mental health problems which are significant and often ignored causes of suffering that interfere with children’s and young people’s health and education and their ability to reach their full potential. According to UNICEF’s 2021 report on The State of World’s Children, at least 13 percent of adolescents globally live with a diagnosed mental disorder, representing 86 million adolescents aged 15–19 and 80 million adolescents aged 10–14. It adds that among older children, absence from school or dropping out before finishing is linked to social isolation, which in turn can lead to mental health conditions, including self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, and substance use. In recovering from Covid-19 pandemic that has brought to surface the many challenges hindering children's welfare in all aspects, the world marked Children’s day on November 20 under a theme “Inclusion, For Every Child” with emphasis on inclusion in pressing matters such as education, mental health, climate change, and discrimination. UNICEF notes that “parenting is foundational to children’s mental health. However, for many caregivers, fulfilling this critical role requires support from parenting programmes, which can include information, guidance, and financial and psychosocial support.” However, it adds that many caregivers also need support for their own mental health. In Rwanda, it is estimated that 20 percent of mental health patients are children aged 19 and below. Mental health awareness continues to grow but activists call for more efforts in availing such health services. When it comes to inclusivity at all levels, children with disabilities, whether mental or physical, are often regarded as a burden by their families, let alone the social stigma they receive. Innocent Habimfura, the Country Director of Hope and Homes for Children-Rwanda, recently told The New Times that they are backing the initiative to reintegrate children with disabilities into families explaining that it takes at least three months for children with disabilities to adapt once reintegrated into families. “Within three months of living together with members of a family, life starts to improve for disabled children as they adapt. The status of physically impaired children, mentally impaired children, those with speech impairment among other categories improve thanks to family-based care according to our study,” he said. Data from the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD) indicate that over 3,000 children with disabilities currently under the care of different children centres, need to be reintegrated into families. Monique Mukamana, a community and family-based support specialist at National Children Development Agency, echoed the same saying that it is primarily the family’s role to better their children’s health. She added that the government is working with care centers to establish the right standards needed to accommodate and help children with disabilities such as materials, physiotherapists, and psychosocial specialists, among others. Kabanda notes that it is possible for children with disabilities to get better and integrate into society once they receive the right health care they need. World Children’s Day was established by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 1954 and is observed every year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and to improve children's welfare.