Down Syndrome SA is calling on South Africa to join the rest of the world in recognising World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) today, and help promote the rights to happiness and well-being of those with Down syndrome.
An emotive ‘Dear Future Mom’ campaign, which launched globally in time for World Down Syndrome Day also encourages future moms not to be scared.
This is according to Vanessa dos Santos, National Executive Director of Down Syndrome SA, who is in New York to deliver a speech at the World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations. She says that the 21st March is the chosen date as 21/3 represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21, unique to people with Down syndrome.
“Down syndrome affects approximately 1 in 800 births worldwide and it is important to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome and demonstrate that they may enjoy full and dignified lives and be active participants in their communities and society,” she says.
She explains that Down syndrome is a life-long genetic condition from conception and all people with Down syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but many will go on to lead full and semi-independent lives.
The emotive TV clip developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Italy in time for tomorrow was inspired by an email from a pregnant mother expecting a child with Down syndrome, that was sent to the Italian Down Syndrome advocacy group, Coor Down. The appeal in the email was particularly touching as she explained she is expecting a baby and had discovered he had Down syndrome and said she was scared and asked: “What kind of life will my child have?”
In order to respond to this expectant Mother and at the same time to many other Mums, Saatchi & Saatchi filmed 15 people with Down syndrome, from all over Europe.
The people interviewed on the YouTube video assures the Mother that her son’s life will be happy, just like theirs: that he will be able to learn how to write; he’ll be able to travel: he can earn a salary and take her out to dinner; and when he is older he will be able to live alone. They say that sometimes it will be very difficult, almost impossible, but isn’t that the case for all Mothers?
The official hash tag for the Dear Future Mom campaign is #DearFutureMom. The film can be viewed via the link at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-q4OnBtNU
Dos Santos says she is appealing to everyone to spread the word and share the movie via their social media channels especially today on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).
For more information on World Down Syndrome Day please visit www.worlddownsyndromeday.org