MARCH 21 may be any normal day for us but it has become most significant for the Down Syndrome community as the day is officially observed by the United Nations as the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).
The Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation (KDSF) has been celebrating WDSD yearly since it was inaugurated in 2006.
This year, KDSF organised a meaningful celebration for the children living with Down Syndrome at Kiwanis Hall of the KDSF-National Centre in Petaling Jaya recently.
The event bearing the theme “Colours of Hope”, had brought a series of showcases such as poetry recitals, video presentations, a photo exhibition, handicraft display and the highlight of the event — dance performances from the children.
Administrative director Angie Heng, who handled the event, said that the theme was inspired by the children’s dances where the children wore blue, yellow and red dresses during the dance performance.
“The children had undergone 12 months of theatre training with Jumping Jellybeans helmed by professional actor Shantini Venugopal for this event and their undivided effort was indeed precious and appreciated,” she said.
The event had also featured the “I Can...” photography exhibition of the children with Down Syndrome carrying out different activities.
Taken by three professional photographers Mohammad Mokriz, Mazlim Husin, and Kamal Fadzil, the “I Can...” exhibition had shown a myriads of creative shots as well as black-and-white portraits of the children.
The photographs and various handmade items on display represented the various possibilities and tasks that the children can execute.
“The children are special but that does not mean they are any different from other people.
“They too, can do what other people can do,” said Heng.
At least 40 volunteers from KDSF, school, colleges, and even several passionate individuals came to make a difference for the 70 children living with Down Syndrome who participated in the event.
Many people had bought some of the handicrafts and the money collected would be donated to KDSF funds.
KDSF president Fred Tan said he was overwhelmed by the crowd and thanked all for supporting this event in his opening speech.
“It was a very meaningful day for the children and this year, WDSD is definitely a day designated for them.”
“I hope that this day will bring awareness as the UN advocate has reiterated the rights of these children,” he said.
He added that there would be events and fundraising programmes in May and July.