WINDHOEK: The first-ever organisation for people living with Down’s Syndrome will be launched here on 25 October this year.
A founding member of the Down’s Syndrome Association of Namibia, Eline van der Linden told Nampa on Wednesday that the association was born to provide support to parents of children living with Down’s Syndrome, and to share information about this genetic condition.
According to her, the launch of this association is set at the right time, with October being Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month worldwide.
“The association aims to serve as a national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down’s Syndrome. The association envisages to provide the opportunity to enhance those living with the condition a quality life and to become valued members of society,” she noted.
Van der Linden said the idea of a support group started a few years ago, with parents who wanted to reach out and share their experiences with others.
Down’s Syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically.
The physical features and medical problems associated with Down’s Syndrome can vary widely from child to child. While some children with the condition need a lot of medical attention, others lead healthy lives.
Although Down’s Syndrome cannot be prevented, it can be detected before a child is born.
Van der Linden made reference to the 11th World Down’s Syndrome Congress that took place in Cape Town, South Africa from 14 to 18 August 2012, during which delegates reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion, protection and implementation of the human rights of individuals with Down’s Syndrome and intellectual disability.
In order to achieve this goal, delegates urged governments and communities globally to develop mechanisms for ensuring access and support for all learners with Down’s Syndrome and intellectual disabilities to educational opportunities; and to recognise the unique contribution that individuals with Down’s Syndrome and intellectual disability have to make in a society that values diversity and thus facilitate their participation in all aspects of community life.
The congress reaffirmed that every human being has the inherent right to life, and recognised the need to disseminate accurate information about the capacity of people with Down’s Syndrome to live a good life.
“We have to reach out and be visible to offer help to others,” stressed Van der Linden.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila will officiate at the event, which is slated for the Goethe Centre here.