Today was World Down Syndrome Day so we decided to celebrate!
There is a lot of stigma and negative attitudes towards children with Down Syndrome, not just here in Uganda but across the world. A lot of this prejudice comes from lack of education and misinformation. Our hope is that with more awareness and provision, children with Down Syndrome will be able to realise their true potential and be welcomed and valued members of society. Our hope is that communities will know the blessing these children can be.
For me working with these children and their families is a huge privilege, they are inspiring families, passionate mothers who are devoted and loving in the face of discrimination and persecution. They love with a fierce and unconditional love that tells the world that their children are a gift not a curse, that their children matter and they won’t abandon them, however tough it is. Some of these mothers have literally had to save their children’s lives from family members who would have them killed, or medical professionals who wanted to refuse lifesaving treatment.
A frequent refrain from the mothers in the support group is that their children are God given and made in His image, this is a really important part of their story. We wanted their stories to be heard. Sharing stories is a really important part of the culture here. So we hosted a celebration at the clinic for the families in the Gulu Down Syndrome Support Group. It was an opportunity for the families to share their stories and to celebrate their children. We had a poster for each family, sharing their story and some video’s too. Local TV and radio came and captured the event and interviewed some of the parents.
I thought you might want to read their stories too… zoom into each poster and read for yourself the heartbreak and the inspiration.