You’ve all read my blog posts about diverse book recommendations. You’ve also probably seen my Instagram pictures about them as well as my reviews.
When it comes to diversity and inclusivity, I do not mean just books. As a diverse person, I love to interact with all kinds of people – children and adults alike. That includes people with different abilities.
This blog post is about children with Down Syndrome and spreading inclusivity.
What is KDSP?
Before last year, I was unaware about the existence of any such organizations catering specifically to spreading awareness regarding Down Syndrome in Karachi. Sure, I was aware about what down syndrome is, as I had spent time with 2 kids who had down syndrome. I volunteered for institute of Children with Special Needs in my community for 3 to 4 years.
I spent time with this girl named Salma, 5 days a week for 1 hour. But this is a story for another time.
Coming back to KDSP. Full form is Karachi Down Syndrome Programme.
The Karachi Down Syndrome Program (KDSP), a non-profit organization, was launched in March 2014 by a group of affected parents and passionate individuals who, due to limited support and resources available locally, realized a need for a platform of those affected by Down syndrome. KDSP was formed with the mission to advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome living in Karachi and to provide them with the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives. Since its inception, KDSP has been involved in organizing workshops and trainings with international speakers and experts, running city-wide awareness campaigns, holding monthly support group meetings, printing regular newsletters, establishing a helpline for parents, and partnering with educational institutions to promote inclusive education.Source: KDSP Website
In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.Source: KDSP Website
Out Reaching Mommy Bloggers of Karachi!
On Saturday, 8th Feb 2020 KDSP had invited some of the Blogger moms based in Karachi. I am not a mom. But I went as a Social Media person through my company where I work along with my 3 other colleagues.
There was an initial awareness session which was so very inspiring and emotional. Ali Allawala’s (Director and CEO) wife (Director and Deputy CEO) was also present in this session. After the basic introduction and an activity regarding how these kids feel we were shown some videos about KDSP.
Ali Allawala’s Wife, Farzeen introduced herself and then told us the story of how it all started. Their first daughter was born with this condition that’s down syndrome. Farzeen continued this story by explaining their personal struggles and how much they love their daughter for who she is. Every one who was present in that room felt emotional and inspired at the end of this tale. After this, the bloggers shared some of their own experiences. Farzeen answered the questions related to Down Syndrome and their organization.
The aim of this organization is to spread inclusivity and awareness in our society regarding people with down syndrome but also expanding to people with other conditions (mental and physical).
Further more, there was a discussion about how everyone’s definition of normal is different and that we all have our own pace of learning. It’s the same with Down Syndrome people. Growing up, these kids need all the love, support and patience from their parents and family. When you give them the right training, they grow up to become quite smart and talented. You have to be let them figure out their own passion, for some it might take time but others figure it out earlier than you expect.
We then got to see the facilities provided to these people at KDSP. We met some of these kids who were attending a class of Arts and Crafts, their teacher told us which items they were making and how much she herself enjoys in teaching them. I even went around the class talking to some of these kids and they graciously explained what they were doing in their own way. It was a very enlightening experience.
Every year, KDSP organizes their annual carnival in Karachi, Pakistan. This is actually a fund raising event and all kinds of people are welcome to attend it.