Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN) has advocated the inclusion of persons with Down Syndrome in decision-making in the society.
The Foundation in partnership with Down Syndrome International and other stakeholders made this known in Lagos as they mark the 2023 World Syndrome Day with the theme” With Us, not For Us.”
Chief Executive Officer of the DSFN, Mrs Rose Mordi, said the theme; ‘‘is about the person with Down Syndrome who are being deprived of their human rights on the freedom to choose for themselves.”
According to her, members of society usually take decisions on behalf of these special people without consulting them and that is deprivation of their rights in society which is not what the United Nations advocate.
Mrs Mordi said; “You cannot do something for me without consulting me, nobody cares to ask what they want and how they can work with them but rather take a decision on their behalf and give it to them and that is why the young adults among the children with Down Syndrome have been trained to advocate for themselves aside their parents and caregivers.”
She condemned the discriminatory situation where no one wants to offer people with Down Syndrome employment whereas they have been trained with many skills to excel in their endeavours.
Mrs Mordi stated that they should be given the chance to contribute to the society instead of employers only asking for people with degree certificates to be offered jobs.
“People do not take time to tap the potentials in these children with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria and Africa at large. I believe that extra chromosomes they have, give them an edge over the rest of us in society, ” She explained.
For Uri Chukwuka, a Stakeholder and Director, of Empathy Driven Women International Interactive, Children with down syndrome needs to be treated like others and should be allowed to take part in the decision-making process, not deciding for them.
She said; “A child living with disabilities should be loved by their parents like every other children, they should not be locked inside a room but show them love like others in the society.”
March 21st is globally recognised as World Down Syndrome Day, WDSD. The day has observed by the United Nations since 2012 for global awareness.