Although, Saturday, 21 March was World Down Syndrome Day, the staff at the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development ensured that they marked the celebrations a day earlier, on Friday, 20 March, with a coloured sock competition.
In explaining the importance of the date, Special Education Officer, Ms Jennelyn St John-John, said, “The significance of the 21st of the third month, is because the number 21 chromosome is split in three instead of two, hence the reason why there will be a child born with Down syndrome.”
She also went on to explain reason behind the sock wearing activity, “… we decided to raise awareness and to involve the staff at the ministry. So we had an activity whereby persons were encouraged to be creative in coming up with socks and we had a winner, who won herself a cake.”
Ms Bowen designed a pair of socks illustrating the stages of growth of a child affected by Down Syndrome from infancy to adulthood. She said the socks she created were to let people know that Down Syndrome children are just as normal children.
The Minister for Education, Hon. Anthony Boatswain; Permanent Secretary, Ms Ruth Elizabeth Rouse and the Acting Chief Education Officer, Mr Elvis Morain, among other participating officials and staff at the ministry, donned coloured socks and gathered for the display in the downstairs lobby.
The event was marked by mass participation, laughter and lots of socks, thereby achieving the day’s objective of raising awareness about Down Syndrome.
These activities make the public aware of the need for the inclusion of persons with Down Syndrome, into all aspects of society, providing support when necessary and therefore providing an enabling environment for them to live independent and productive lives.
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