Hemas Outreach Foundation celebrated World Down Syndrome Day under the theme ‘Thanak Demu’ (a place in society) at the AYATI Centre in Ragama, through the ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ social movement, which empowers children and families with Down Syndrome to live a dignified life.
Efforts such as this represent the Hemas Group’s focus to create an inclusive world where no child is left behind. In Sri Lanka, most children and families with Down Syndrome face societal isolation due to stigma, resulting in the public being unaware of the capabilities of this community. Hemas Outreach Foundation is confident that with the right approach, children with Down Syndrome can integrate well into society, making them productive citizens of the nation.
Celebrations included creating awareness and casting the spotlight on the remarkable achievements of individuals with Down Syndrome.
Speaking at the event, Shiromi Masakorala, Executive Director, Hemas Outreach Foundation/Ayati Trust said, “Though every child in Sri Lanka has the right to free education, children with special needs are often treated differently and are rejected by some schools. While such children may not be the best at academics, all they need is an inclusive learning environment to get them integrated into society as productive citizens. Our mission is to ensure that when it comes to learning, no differentiation should exist among children with Down Syndrome or children with any other disability.
Meanwhile, Prof. Samanmali Sumanasena, Professor in Paediatric Disabilities – Disability Studies Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and Hon. Consultant Paediatrician – North Colombo Teaching Hospital and Ayati National Center for Children with Disabilities, added, “While children and adults with Down Syndrome are becoming increasingly integrated into society and community organisations across the world, Sri Lanka still has some catching up to do, for no other reason than the societal stigma attached to the same. Many fail to understand that such children are gifted in their own ways, from excelling in creativity and the performing arts, to reading into the emotions of those around them. It is also extremely important to understand that these children also can achieve academic strengths and sit for public examinations with reasonable accommodations, hence health and education providers should guide the families to get the best educational outcomes in these children. Together with Hemas Group, we are confident that we can break through these negative stereotypes for good.”
Since its launch in 2021 the social movement ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ by Hemas Outreach Foundation has become one of the most proactive groups in terms of creating a platform to recognise the rights of those with Down Syndrome, while promoting inclusivity in today’s society.
Source From asianmirror business
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