Down Syndrome Day

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is ready to put on its coloured socks and commemorate the 10th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (21 March), with stakeholders and the general public.

According to the World Down Syndrome International website, Down Syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socioeconomic lines, and affecting approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.

Special Education Officers in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Ms Jennelyn St John-John and Ms Leolyn Christopher, are encouraging the general public to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day by wearing coloured socks on 20 March, given that the 21 is not a working day.

The significance of wearing brightly coloured socks is to alert persons about World Down Syndrome Day, so that they may ask the individuals wearing the socks why they are doing so, therefore giving those persons the opportunity to educate the public about Down Syndrome and how they can engage and support persons with this disability.

As part of the celebrations, the team of Special Education Officers from the ministry will visit several schools for Special Education, during the week of 16 March. The team will also be appearing on the GIS Spice Morning TV show to educate the public on various topics related to Down Syndrome on Tuesday.

The preamble (x) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) confirms that “persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities.”

The emphasis is on spreading the awareness that everyone can achieve greatness, regardless of existing differences. Families, friends and the general public are encouraged to engage in knowledge-based and supportive activities on World Down Syndrome Day, which will lead to a greater understanding of the challenges faced by people with Down Syndrome and the need to encourage and empower them, while ensuring that they have equal access to opportunities and an improved quality of life.

As stated by the World Down Syndrome International website, World Down Syndrome Day is an opportunity for everyone to participate in raising awareness of what Down Syndrome is, what it means to have it, and how people with it play a vital role in our lives and communities.

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