Cyprus’ new commemorative stamp to mark World Autism Day shows respect and acceptance of people on the autism spectrum, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos has said.

The minister was speaking during the presentation of the stamp late on Wednesday, which depicts a child holding a heart-shaped balloon and was issued to mark the World Autism Day on April 2.

“Our main concern is to inform and raise awareness about autism… to gradually cultivate an environment of acceptance, without prejudice and stigmatisation, and understanding the difficulties faced by people with autism,” Karousos said.

The mothers of children with autism are modern-day heroines, he said, and offered all possible assistance.

He added the stamp is also a “practical appreciation” of the important work carried out by the Pancyprian association for people with autism and reiterated the government’s intention to continue to strengthen efforts on proper information about autism issues.

The stamp was designed by Nikos Ierodiakonou and will be sold at a face value of €0.41, the Director of Cyprus Post Pavlos Pavlides said during the presentation.

Speaking at the event, Ayia Napa Mayor Christos Zanetou said the municipality has over the years supported and will continue to support efforts to increase the quality of life of people with autism.

Referring to the autism centre which is expected to be built in the area, the mayor said this implementation of the project should start in the next 12 months once the licence is issued.