The 21st March 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day that is celebrated worldwide. Each year, the voice of people with Down Syndrome and those who live and work with them grows louder and louder.
World Down Syndrome Day was first observed in 2006 and takes place on 21st March every year. This date (21/3) represents the three copies of chromosome 21, which identifies persons with Down Syndrome. Global awareness had been officially established in 2012 by the United Nations. Quoting the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 21st March 2012, “On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down Syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down Syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of the societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all.”
This year, the global voice of people with Down Syndrome and those who care for them is ‘My Voice My Community’, because the social reality is that people with DS are part of our community. Persons with Down Syndrome are learning, achieving and contributing to the community just like any other citizen. It is for this reason that allowing them a voice is no longer a privilege but a right in itself.
The aims of World Down Syndrome Day are to promote awareness and understanding, seek universal support, and to achieve dignity, equal rights and a better life for people with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome Association Malta was founded in 1981, striving for persons with Down Syndrome to achieve their full potential. Down Syndrome Association Malta will be organising a series of activities that the general public is invited to participate in, follow them here:
The World Down Syndrome Week 2017 had been launched on the 11th March at the Verdala Palace under the distinguished patronage of Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta.
On the 14th March at 7pm, members of the Down Syndrome Association Malta were also guests on TVM’s discussion programme Skjetti. On the 17th March at 8.50pm, Down Syndrome awareness will be a main topic of the TVM programme Xarabank. On the 18th March at 10am, an annual Awareness Walk will be held in Sliema. Parents, relatives, friends and the general public are invited to participate in this walk along the Sliema front starting at the Torri next to the swings, all the way to Bisazza Street. On the 21st March (World Down Syndrome Day) at 6.30pm, the week will be concluded with mass being celebrated at the Dar tal-Providenza Chapel in Siġġiewi.