As we come to a close of 2020, some of us will be spending this time with loved ones and some of us won’t be able to due to COVID-19. What a whirlwind of a year this has been, and more challenging for some, than others. We reflect upon some of our activities we have managed during this time.

Highlights from 2020

Self-advocacy facilitation training with our national member organisation in United Arab Emirates and human rights and advocacy training for families and organisations in Tajikistan to give people with Down syndrome the confidence to take control and participate in their communities;

Employment advocacy training in Africa to increase inclusion of self-advocates with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities in the advocacy work of organisations for people with disabilities in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda;

Our 9th annual World Down Syndrome Day international advocacy campaign in March 2020, based on the theme “We decide”, delivered through various activities including, for the first time, a virtual Conference with the UN;

Responding to the evolving situation with COVID-19 and supporting our members and the global Down syndrome community during these difficult times;

Publishing our long awaited International Guidelines for the Education of Learners with Down Syndrome to improve the availability and quality of education for people with Down syndrome around the world;

Launching our #ListenIncludeRespect project working together with Inclusion International developing guidelines for inclusive participation that will enable organisations to make their work inclusive, so that people with an intellectual disability can take part in a meaningful way;

Launching our 'Explore' project, funded by CAST, in which we explored the barriers that people with Down syndrome face when they want to participate in the work of organisations remotely. We developed digital solutions and with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund we will start turning our prototypes into reality in 2021;

Collaborating with international clinical experts to create an up-to-date review and expert consensus document on cardiac disease in Down syndrome, and

Working with our National Representatives with Down syndrome who have been busier than ever through 2020 in their role informing and guiding the work that we are doing.

On behalf of all at DSi I take this opportunity in wishing you all a safe and peaceful festive season and a prosperous New Year. Should it be safe enough for us to travel, we look forward to welcoming you to Dubai in November 2021 for our World Down Syndrome Congress.

Vanessa dos Santos


Down Syndrome International