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Message from Rekha Ma'am for New Year

Dear Friends:

Wish you all a wonderful 2020!

2019 is gone leaving behind warm memories and achievements. In terms of activities that have taken place in the world of Down syndrome in India, this is probably one of the most successful. Today India stands way above various countries in terms of our penetration. In spite of all our differences – in language, culture, social and political, we have managed to come together as one and achieve what seemed unachievable even a few years ago. Just to give you a brief recap of the activities in 2019,:

1. The World Down Syndrome Day was celebrated across the country.

Various activities were carried out including cultural shows, lighting up of buildings and monuments in Down syndrome colors of yellow and blue, cyclothons where persons with Down syndrome went along with their parents and siblings, art exhibitions, and in Chennai, a rally was organized at the Elliot’s Beach, Besant Nagar where persons with Down syndrome as well as others gathered in large numbers to talk about Down syndrome.

Representation at the UN in Geneva

Dr. Surekha Ramachandran, President, DSFI represented India at the World Down Syndrome Day celebrations of the UN at Geneva., Indian self-advocate, Ms. Karishma Kannan spoke at the mission creating awareness about persons with Down syndrome and how they can do wonders when given the right opportunity.

3. Visit to Qaid-E-Millath College

Dr. Surekha Ramachandran was a guest speaker at the QEM College, Chennai where she spoke to students about Down syndrome and inclusion. The students who had not even heard of Down syndrome were in awe when they were told about the achievements of persons with Down syndrome. These students were so inspired that they came as a part of the WDSD Celebrations to the Besant Nagar beach.

4. Camps across the country

Medical and Health camps were organized at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Coimbatore and Raipur where the team from Chennai as well as the local medical teams were a part. The various issues of persons with Down syndrome were discussed and addressed. These camps are now being requested across the country since they are very useful for the parents in grooming their children

5. Assistance for Persons with Down syndrome

The Federation sought donations for persons with Down syndrome who required surgery due to complications. Various donors came forward to assist children with Down syndrome. 3 Children were provided with help this year.

6. IIDSC 2019

The annual conference organized by DSFI the India International Down Syndrome Conference (IIDSC) was held in Chandigarh this year from Sep19-21st. It was attended by almost 400 delegates including nearly a 100 self- advocates (persons with Down syndrome). There was a session by self-advocates who spoke about their aspirations and achievements. This gave parents of younger children with Down syndrome more hope for the future of their child.

7. Course on Down syndrome

DSFI in association with various institutions is planning to conduct a course on Down syndrome. Meant for Parents, Therapists, Doctors, Students and anybody interested in Down syndrome, this course covers the various aspects of Down syndrome which a person needs to know to enable the empowerment of persons with Down syndrome. The first of this course is currently on at the IRC center in Bangalore. In Chennai, talks are on with Loyola college to offer this as a Certification program.

In 2020, we are looking at empowering the last of our territories – Madhya Pradesh as we host a Medical and Health Camp there on the 18th and 19th of January.

I can proudly say that every state is today independently empowered to run its own camps – whether Medical or Health, organize events to keep the group bonded and fight for the rights of persons with Down syndrome in their area/state.

Let us now look at improving lives of persons with Down syndrome as we start campaigning for the rights of persons with Down syndrome in the important areas of Education, Health and Social acceptance.

Happy New Year Team India! Apna Time Aa Gaya!

Jai Hind!