#icandoanything rings clear on first Down Syndrome Day
The first Namibia Down Syndrome Day blew the organisers off their chairs when one after the other, more and more families arrived at the lush green lawns of the Eros Primary School sport fields in Windhoek.
Mother of Down self-advocate Namasiku, Eline van der Linden said afterwards it was amazing how more and more people just turned up. Eventually, the Down Syndrome Association of Namibia registered 25 new members during the day.
“Sometimes we just have to turn up in life. And on Saturday 21 October 2017 that is exactly what happened at the First Namibia Down Syndrome Day. The kids with Down Syndrome from Môreson and Dagbreek schools for children with special educational needs, turned up and so many other kids and their families and friends” said Dr van der Linden, completely bowled over by the unexpected success of the first celebration of this special day.
“The Education Permanent Secretary, Mrs Sanette Steenkamp, turned up. The Down Syndrome Association sponsors, volunteers from UNAM, DB Audio, Blikbekers Catering, Pulse Studio Namibia – they all turned up.”
All the children, their parents and custodians experiences the unlimited goodwill and the much needed advocacy for children with mixed abilities. The day’s festivities re-energized all the participants, restoring their commitment to ensure that people with Down Syndrome are supported and have access to healthcare and education, and also to sheltered work opportunities.
Down self-advocates, Niita and Desiree spoke to the other children and parents, telling them about a future where learning and social and economic inclusion continues after shool. “And listening to Sanette Steenkamp and Down Syndrome self-advocate Namasiku we could see a Namibia where all children with mixed abilities can go to school” said Dr van der Linden.
The slogan #icandoanything is promoted by the Down Syndrome Association of Namibia to empower children with Down Syndrome and all those who support them, to be included at school, in healthcare, at work and in society at large.
The association’s mission and work can be viewed at www.downsyndromenamibia.org .