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WDSD 2017 Campaign

23 February 2017

#MyVoiceMyCommunity – Enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community

In 2017, we will focus on enabling people with Down syndrome (and those who advocate for them) to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to ensure that they can be included, on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society.

Working with our global network, the campaign will:

  • Explain why it is important for people with Down syndrome and their advocates to speak up and influence local, national, regional and international policy makers.
  • Explain what the key policies are which affect the lives of people with Down syndrome and how they can ensure full society inclusion if implemented.
  • Explain how advocates can get involved – from media campaigns to direct political advocacy.
  • Explain how to empower people with Down syndrome (and those supporting them) to advocate for themselves and provide accessible tools to facilitate this.
  • We will be encouraging people with Down syndrome to say #MyVoiceMyCommunity and we will ask everyone to respond to our call by sharing and showing the world how people with Down syndrome participate in the community alongside everyone else. You can take part simply by sharing details of WDSD activities or by photos, messages, quotes or in any way you choose, using the hash tag #MyVoiceMyCommunity as well as #WDSD17.
  • Some of Down Syndrome South Africa’s (DSSA’s) self-advocates, express their voices as follows:
  • KAYLA – She wants to be taught how to cook and enjoys being with children and wants to be able to look after children. She enjoys writing, drawing and reading but wants to be taught how to read, write and speak properly. She also want to learn how to type on a computer and whatsapp on a cellphone. She likes music ,dancing and singing and also wants a job so she can have her own money to buy things and also wants a boyfriend and wants to get married.
  • TASHA – I would like to go to a college and learn some skills like some basic admin and computer skills so that I can get a job andI would also like to meet other people and make some new friends.
  • MARINUS – He wants to be able to work so that he can keep busy and earn money so he can buy things and have a girlfriend.
  • TIMOTHY – I live in KZN, on a farm in Assagay near Hillcrest. My biggest wish is to find a job, in a sheltered environment, to earn my own money to buy my own stuff. I also have dreams and a wish list of stuff that I need to get myself, and having a job would make this possible. The other option is for the Government to give us a bigger SASSA allowance that is more liveable. Currently the centre I attend needs R1800,00 per month for me to attend, as they do not receive a government subsidy.
  • SHERI – I am a girl with Down syndrome. I am 34 years old and I have stayed in Bloemfontein, South Africa, my whole life. I am lucky to have studied and to have a job, but not all people with intellectual disabilities have this opportunity, because of the lack in opportunities and in their abilities. The government focusses on helping people with physical disabilities, while people who are intellectually disabled are often disregarded. If the developmental potential of these people can be elevated and supported, we will be able to do more for ourselves and we can play a positive role in society. Public transport is unreliable and assisted places to stay are often undesirable. I would have liked to get married and live on my own, but I do need financial support and a little assistance from time to time. I have a right to be respected and I have an obligation to respect other people. I am not less human than any other human and I did not choose to be disabled. I know you do not mind that many like me are killed before birth every day, but people don’t realize how sad the abortions on Down syndrome foetuses makes us. Can the government please assist me in changing perceptions about people with Down syndrome? I know I have given hope to many families and I would like to do even more.

For more information, kindly visit https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/wdsd-2017