What happened?

On the 24th the first ever Global Disability Summit was held in London. It was hosted by the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), along with the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya. Find out more here:

Down Syndrome International (DSi) was invited to make a statement at the Summit about employment and work for people with Down syndrome. DSi asked for ideas from its Committee of National Representatives With Down Syndrome. The Committee is made up of people with Down syndrome from 27 countries. Then it combined all their answers together to make a statement.

The statement was then presented to and approved by over 70 people with Down syndrome from around the world at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow.

The statement

Here is the statement that was read by Emeric Jeanjean, a self-advocate with Down syndrome:

This is a statement from people with Down syndrome from around the world.

Getting a job can be hard if you have Down syndrome.
Often we are paid less and sometimes treated badly.
This needs to change.

We want you to know that we are ready to work.
We can do the same jobs as everyone else.
We work hard and should be treated the same as everyone else.
Having a chance to work and be treated equally is our right.

So what do we need?
We need a good education, just like everyone else.
We need training to get ready for work.
We need support to find the right job.
We need to be given a chance by employers.
We need to be treated right at work.

Let us help your business succeed.
Let us help our countries succeed.
Respect our human rights.
We just need an opportunity.


Sheri Brynard (South Africa) “Work gives me a reason to get up in the morning, dress nicely and mean something. My days are never wasted”
Ashish Joshi (Nepal) “You cannot discriminate people on the basis of their disability. If given the opportunity they can also prove themselves as any other.”
Eileen Dunne (Ireland) “I have two jobs and work and get paid. I work in Tesco and at a hair salon. I want to be independent.”
Jaime Cruz Juscamaita (Peru) “It is our right to have supports to get a good job. We have the right to be paid the same and not be segregated because of Down Syndrome.”
Shahadat Akbar Otonu (Bangladesh) “I think we should be paid the same as everyone. Because, we can do the work perfectly like other if we have the same work.”
Favour Onyisi Jideonwor (Nigeria) “Having my own money helps me live how I want.”
George Okudi (Uganda) “The government should have a bigger part to play because it is the one which should encourage all companies or organisations to employ us.”
Andile Alexis Dube (Zimbabwe) “I can work! I want equal pay.”


‘Must Attend’ Event For Health Workers

Are you a health professional, working with people with Down syndrome? If so don’t miss out on the World Down syndrome Congress 2018. I can guarantee it will be one of the most enjoyable CPD experiences you will ever have.

I am a Paediatrician based at Nottingham Children’s Hospital in the UK. I run a service for children with Down syndrome, and am a founder member and current web editor for the UK and Ireland Down Syndrome Medical interest Group. I first experienced the World Down Syndrome Congress in Vancouver in 2006, and was blown away by the experience so much so that I have not been able to stay away since, and now plan my professional and personal life around attending each 3 years.

The Congress is unlike any other meeting I have ever been to. Health professionals will find parts of it familiar, with lectures, paper presentations and posters on medical and related scientific topics as you would find at any medical meeting. You will be able to hear about the latest research, and learn about good practice in the care of individuals with the syndrome from experts around the world. At the pre congress Health symposium on 24th July, the focus will be entirely clinical, concentrating on the important topics of sleep disordered breathing, coeliac disease, adult health screening and mental health.

However the congress offers so much more. From an academic point of view, you will be able to learn from other professional disciplines – it is always very enlightening and refreshing to see how other health professionals, colleagues in education and social care approach their work in supporting people with Down syndrome, and conduct their research.

I have returned from each congress with new information and ideas that I have incorporated into my day to day practice. I have built relationships with colleagues from around the world that I have been able to draw upon for collaborative work and clinical discussion between congresses.

But the real treat is the people – a unique opportunity to spend time with people with Down syndrome and their families from around the globe, to get a glimpse into their lives, and develop a greater awareness of their needs, hopes and aspirations, to better understand the challenges they may face, and to be able to join together in celebrating achievements.

And then there are the social events – there will be entertainment by talented musicians and dancers with Down syndrome, films to watch and I expect a wee dram or two will be consumed – after all – it is in Scotland, and the Scots are well known for their hospitality.

So – this congress is certainly not yet another dry academic meeting. The research and learning are certainly there – but so are the people and relationships, which will last well beyond the congress.

My experience at previous congresses has had a major impact on me personally and in my work with children with Down syndrome.

I cannot wait for WDSC2018- See you there?

Dr Liz Marder , Consultant Paediatrician, Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

June 2018