Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day

Despite all the awareness and success stories of people with Down Syndrome who lived normal lives, there is still a stigma and discrimination towards them. World Down Syndrome Day observed annually on March 21st serves as a reminder of the importance of being welcoming and celebrating the unique abilities of individuals with Down Syndrome. 

Observed globally, this day invites communities worldwide to come together and raise awareness, promote understanding, and advocate for the equal rights of people with Down Syndrome.

History

It might come as a surprise to everyone that we have only just officially honored this day 13 years ago.

  • Various advocacy groups and organizations started the initiative to have a Down Syndrome Day to increase awareness and to promote the rights and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome.
  • In 2006, World Down Syndrome Say was first observed.
  • In December 2011, the UN General Assembly officially declared March 21 as WDSD or World Down Syndrome Day.
  • On March 21, 2012 the world celebrated the first International Down Syndrome Day.
World Down Syndrome Day
Beautiful girl have fun with socks on World Down Syndrome Day

Why March 21st?

To symbolize the triplication of the 21st chromosome which leads to Down Syndrome, March 21 was chosen as WDSD. This genetic condition which occurs approximately once in every 700 births across the globe, results in distinct physical features and development challenges. However, because of WDSD, more and more people are becoming aware that people with Down Syndrome are not limited by their conditions and can in fact, contribute to society. 

2024 Celebration

Each year, the WDSD is marked by a specific theme or focus to amplify the message. Themes often revolve around aspects such as inclusivity, awareness, and removing the stigma associated with Down Syndrome. Prominent awareness campaigns often include the abilities and achievements of people with Down Syndrome.

This year, the theme is “End The Stereotype”.

Celebrations Across the World

Countries across the world celebrate Down Syndrome Day differently but with the same goals.

United Arab Emirates

The celebration of Down Syndrome Day UAE 2023 was spearheaded by the Emirates Down Syndrome Association. The awareness festival which happened in Dubai Mall was attended by important figures, organizations, volunteers, and accessibility advocates like Gilani Mobility. People with Down Syndrome and their families were treated to presentations by the Dibba Al Harbiya Al-Yola Band and Emirati TV Presenter Abdulla Esmaeel.

Reading Suggestions: People of Determination & Sanad card | Esaad Card

United Kingdom

The WDSD in the United Kingdom had several activities and initiatives for the celebration of Down Syndrome Day such as:

  • Lots of Socks Campaign 
  • Social media poster frame with the “With Us Not For Us” message, the 2023 theme

Philippines

To raise awareness, children with Down Syndrome and their parents gather for a “Happy Walk” as organized by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI). As per the organizers, the event is “to show solidarity and to promote inclusion and awareness for Down Syndrome advocacy.”

Conclusion

Beyond March 21, we must continue to advocate all the goals and aims of World Down Syndrome Day. By being welcoming, providing equal opportunities and challenging societal norms, we contribute to a world that sees beyond disabilities and differences.

World Down Syndrome Day

FAQs

What is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition when an individual possesses an extra copy of chromosome 21. Normally, humans have only 2 copies of chromosome 21. The extra genetic material of people with Down Syndrome affects the normal development of the body and brain resulting in distinct physical features and developmental delays.

What is World Down Syndrome Day?

Declared by the UN General Assembly, World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated globally every March 21.

Why is World Down Syndrome Day observed on March 21st?

WDSD is observed on March 21 to symbolize the third extra chromosome 21 that people with Down Syndrome have

What are the goals of World Down Syndrome Day?

The goals of World Down Syndrome Day are:

  • Promoting awareness
  • Celebrating diversity
  • Advocating for inclusivity

Why do we wear odd socks for Down Syndrome Day?

Wearing odd socks during Down Syndrome Day has become a symbolic gesture to show support and awareness for people with Down Syndrome to show that differences should be celebrated, and diversity is beautiful.