Chennai is celebrating World Down Syndrome (DS) Day with a slew of activities. The idea behind the event is to get rid of misconceptions around the health condition.
“This is the first time such a big event is happening in the city. The idea behind the event is to get rid of misconceptions around the health condition. Anyone can be born with Down Syndrome, it’s not hereditary, it’s not a disease, and people with Down Syndrome can lead a normal life. If you have a child with DS, you don’t have to shy away from it, instead, you can bring them out and raise them like a normal kid,” says Dr Rekha Ramachandran, co-founder of Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI), who is organising the event.
The event aims to spread awareness about two key areas, clearing up the cloudy misconceptions on what DS is and the science behind it; second is giving the city a chance to interact, participate in the activities with DS kids, adults and their parents.
“There is so much stigma and exclusion when it comes to differently-abled people. Like any other kid, DS children love life and wanted others to appreciate and consider them as equal. So, if you meet a DS kid or an adult, don’t back away, they are not aggressive — they would be happy to connect/interact with you. Down Syndrome kids thrive on friendship with a feeling of having a great time. We are expecting a huge crowd this Sunday and what I can promise is that everyone who leaves the event will be a person with one less stigma and at least one new friend,” she smiles.
Today, we are talking about visibility about people from all walks of life; something that’s never happened in India.
“The society is slowly becoming inclusive and we are trying to convey differently-abled people that they have no reason to hide. I believe that a decade from today, people with DS will be having employment. That said, the only pressing concern is the attitude of certain section of society. But we hope it will also change.”
Various activities including Zumba, face painting and games have been organised as part of the event on Sunday. Actors Sai Pallavi and Harish Uthaman along with Sekar, international surfing champion and Pooja Chaurushi, Iron Man Athlete will support the event.