They come into the world unknown, and get constantly shunned at several junctures in time. They are thought to be unfit, they are thought to be inadequate, and they are thought to be different. What we fail to see is that they indeed are different, but only in the most beautiful ways. The truth is, there is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more. The only disability prevalent today is the ignorance and wrong attitude each one of us bears in our minds. And that is primarily what needs to be changed.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder which occurs when a child is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, causing development and intellectual delays. A child born with Down Syndrome has 47 chromosomes instead of 46 found in those without Down Syndrome. One in every 700 babies is born with Down Syndrome . 21 st March-World Syndrome Day is all about recognizing how unique those with the condition are, recognizing the contributions they can make to the world and how much they can achieve.
To celebrate this day, Mentaid in association with The Belani Group of Companies and Jan Vikas Samiti with volunteer partner iVolunteer , organized a tram ride with 35 Down’s children along with their parents to visit the heritage sites of Kolkata. Mentaid is the first registered Parents’ Organisation in West Bengal, working for the past 30 years for the benefit of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities.
While the iVolunteer team put in commendable effort by contributing in terms of skilled assignments ranging from reporting to execution to photography.
The event started with an opening address by Mrs. Iona Kundu (Director and Founder, Mentaid) followed by the flag off ceremony by The Chief Guest, Mr. S. S. Vinayak, Asst Commissioner, Disabilities and the Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Victor Banerjee.
“Apathy is infact a new mental disorder. We must try and educate our friends and society to not be so apathetic and indifferent towards people with a loving problem that needs care. “ said the renowned theatre personality, Mr. Banerjee, who accompanied the children for the 5 km long tram ride actively distributing pamphlets and holding inspirational banners in the course of the journey.
Just like most of us are unaware about Down Syndrome, even the parents of some of these children were unaware of this condition until they witnessed it in their children. The only thing that’s different is the presence of one extra chromosome. What brought everyone present there together today was one extra chromosome. “My child with Down’s is a blessing, not a burden. I could never even bear the thought of replacing my daughter with a normal child. I am a proud Down’s mommy” said one of the mother’s present.
People with Down Syndrome need our support and acceptability. They need to be treated with respect and dignity and be given equal rights. They will steal your heart. Just experience it! Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. Let’s not wait for it to happen, let’s make it happen! You might only have one matchstick, but you can make an explosion.
Volunteer Photographer: Vishal Chhajer, Picture Perfect Moments
Volunteer Content Writer: Divya Giananeyy