Thanks to Myanmar Down Syndrome Association for providing this information.

The current situation

In Myanmar, it is common for parents and guardians to control the lives and daily decision-making of people with Down syndrome.

Their individual decision-making role and community participation are prohibited by the high anxiety of parents and guardians and other cultural norms and traditions of a conservative society.

In addition, the guardians in our country use one of the articles of Disability Right Law which states that “for children who are mentally disabled and are incapable of making a decision or thinking, the parent or the guardian can decide on behalf of the children for their best of their interest according to the prevailing law”.

The guardians and the community don’t know how to support people with Down syndrome to participate in the community or in the decision-making process. 


I am Khin Thein Mwae Aung. Today, I want to tell you about myself.

I am a 22 years old girl with Down syndrome, from Myanmar.

In our country, it is difficult to get decision-making roles and leadership roles for girls, especially people with Down syndrome.

But I am very lucky because my family gives me the opportunity to be independent by supporting my needs and wants. And my friends also accept me.

I have a chance to do personal decision-making in my daily life.

Although I can’t go to work, I can work in my small community by helping them as much as I can. I don’t feel tired when the mothers of my friends request me to accompany their children and support each other.

I am patient and active so I can help others. That makes me proud of myself.

I am happy when adults and older people appreciate me for encouraging and motivating my friends.

I want to get more knowledge to make decisions and make the right choice.

I also want to travel around the world and meet with my other friends who have Down syndrome. I heard that people with Down syndrome in some countries are working and empowered under a good system so I also want to do like them by learning about their community and system. I also would like to invite them to my country.

People with Down syndrome have our own abilities. We can work. We can be a helping hand. We can communicate. We have capacity.

So, please believe us. We can do it. We have power. We have capacity. Just give us a chance.

What needs to change?

People with Down syndrome don’t get the full rights of a human and they are not treated with human value in the community.

The inclusion of people with Down syndrome is neglected.

Inclusive education is not accessible and job opportunities and other services are very limited.

Firstly, we have to raise the personal development and self-confidence of people with Down syndrome. As the saying goes “bigger things start from small ones”.

We have to start from home. We advocate for guardians and parents of people with Down syndrome to practice “Active Listening Skills” when they communicate.

We are organising development activities such as intellectual and physical development, capacity building for job readiness, health care services, educational development, and social inclusion for people with Down syndrome.

We are working with people with Down syndrome at Myanmar Down Syndrome Association.

Although we are going step by step, the journey is not smooth. Firstly, we have to overcome the biggest challenge of social acceptance. The public doesn’t have a rich knowledge of Down syndrome. So we have to do a lot of public advocacy in order to gain the cooperation and collaboration of the community.

It is important to urge and encourage people with Down syndrome to speak up for themselves, to ask for support when they need it, to make sure they have a say in decisions that affect them.

We believe that all the flowers in the world have their own beauty so we just need skillful gardeners and empathetic minds to grow them beautifully on the earth.

What the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities report says.

Taken from the Concluding observations report, 2019:


  • The Committee is concerned about the legislation in the State party that restricts the legal capacity of persons with disabilities on the basis of actual or perceived impairment, such as the Guardians and Wards Act or the Lunacy Act, which provide for substituted decision-making regimes.


  • The Committee recommends that the State party enact legislation recognizing the full legal capacity of persons with disabilities, abolishing substituted decision-making regimes, including guardianship, and introducing supported decision-making regimes that respect the autonomy, will, and preferences of persons with disabilities. 

Take action.

Contact Myanmar Down Syndrome Association to support this campaign in your country.