March 21st is a very special day for many. It is World Down Syndrome Day – the event established to underline the needs of people with Down syndrome. This day is a good opportunity to learn a bit more about the situation of people with Down syndrome in Tricity.
History of World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day dates back to 2006, a year in which many countries around the world observed this global awareness day for the first time; and since it’s inception, WDSD has been observed every following year. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day. As a result, the observance became official.
Special meaning of March 21st
It is not a coincidence that March 21st is a date of World Down Syndrome Day. The cause of Down syndrome is the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome. Hence the date has a special meaning.
WDSD in Poland
There are approximately 60.000 people with Down syndrome living in Poland. Statistically, the disorder happens once in every 800-1000 births. Many foundations are working hard to help people with the disorder to adapt to an adult and independent life.
Today most of those foundations observe World Down Syndrome Day by organising events in many cities and on social media.
The two biggest social media campaigns are #lotsofsocks which encourages people to wear different or snazzy socks as a symbol of Down syndrome awareness. The second one is a polish campaign #LiniaProsta which is organized by Lifetime TV and Bardziej Kochani (Loved More) foundation. All you have to do is post a picture of your hand with a straight, crossing line. Every picture with hashtag #LiniaProsta means 5PLN for the foundation taking care of people with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome in Tricity
We spoke with Katarzyna Karczewska, head of Dom Marzeń (Dream House) foundation about the situation of people with Down syndrome in Tricity.
There are two major problems faced by people with Down syndrome. The first problem is education. Though polish law allows them to learn until the age of 24, there aren’t many possibilities to gain a practical and valuable education. There are some workshops providing help in learning practical life-skills like cleaning, cooking, basic use of computer or pottery. People working there are doing an incredible job by helping young people with Down syndrome in gaining a sense of independence. Despite their efforts, most of people with Down syndrome cannot obtain any profession or and get a job as a result of their predicament.
The second issue which is still a problem is work. Down syndrome usually means a moderate disability, which is often problematic for a potential employer. Additionally, as mentioned before, people with this disorder are not getting an education toward any profession. There are places where people with Down syndrome work, but many are still unemployed. This is also partly due to the lack of awareness among the potential employers.
How can we help?
If you ask yourself this question, there is one thing you can do to help right now. In the following weeks, you will need to submit your tax calculation at the tax office. Polish law allows 1% of your tax to be donated to the chosen foundation. Ask your tax advisor how to do it and use links in names of foundations mentioned in the article to find KRS number needed to donate 1% of your tax.
The video used in the article was produced in 2014 by a couple who have 6 years old daughter with Down syndrome. The family shot the video as a private project in 6 german cities, meeting a lot of fantastic people with or without trisomy of the 21st chromosome. The video went viral through the internet and became one of the symbols of Down syndrome awareness. The copyright to the video belongs to the mentioned family and we would like to thank them for letting us use it in this article.