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Moscow hosts an annual charity race «Sport for a cause»

The 15th annual charity ski race «Sport for a cause» was held in Moscow, traditionally hosted by the Charity Fund «Downside up». More than 640 participants of the race toe, the starting line. Among them were 10 Paralympic athletes and more than 50 children (children under the age of 5 years skied a distance of 500 m). The youngest skier was 3 years old, and the oldest was 79 years. 1 474 988 rubles raised by common efforts for payment for consultations of the specialists who work with children with Down Syndrome from 3 to 7 years old and for the educational activities.

Younger participants skied 500 meters, older ones skied — 1, 3 and 5 kilometers. The Paralympic athletes, led by six-time Paralympic champion Sergey Shilov skied 5 km. The toughest adults fought for prizes in 10 and 15 km races. Every skier received a commemorative medal at the finish.

Corporate teams competed in the relay and steeplechase without skis. All participants enjoyed quick registration, warm locker rooms, and luggage storage. In addition to games such as «Metloball» were tasty oatmeal, hot tea, a special «sport» mulled wine, a raffle with expensive prizes from various sponsors and entertainment for the young audience.

Downside Up сompletes its fundraiser «The Further You Go»

Downside Up has completed its on-line fundraiser, «The Further You Go», where participants were given the chance to play Santa Claus on the cusp of the holiday. These generous individuals worked their magic by giving the fund’s children gifts and skills, which they will certainly need later in life. During the fundraiser, donors picked out a virtual Christmas tree and ornament with a gift for a child and then paid for it.

«The further you go, the more goodwill you'll find». They were certain of this at the fund, and they were right! 627 donors took part in the initiative and helped raise 607,960 rubles. Each participant hung an ornament with a child’s wish on the tree, and this forest of magical Christmas trees grew and grew! This miracle was possible because hundreds of people came together to change the future for children with Down syndrome. It’s so important – to speak so that people understand you, to learn to befriend others, to find common ground with adults, to be able to read to enter the first grade.

«The Further You Go» fundraiser received the Golden Cat award from the Russian Fundraiser Association for «best on-line fundraiser».

Downside Up took part in the round table discussions on the occasion of world down syndrome day

Charitable Fund “Downside Up” took part in the special event dedicated to World Down Syndrome Day and organized by inclusive theater project “Interaction” in cooperation with New Space Theater of Nations.

Downside Up’s pupils participated in inclusive training for actors led by Boris Pavlovich, art director of socially educative department of Tovstonogov State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theater of Russia. A round table “Interaction Between a Painter and a Disabled Person” was held in the evening. Participants discussed the following questions: what do we mean by inclusion in the arts and how can it help our society to learn to recognize other people? Can this kind of special theater catch the interest of a viewer, not related to the “problem”? What can help this social project to become commercially viable, and special artists to get paid?

Nikolay Ilnitskiy, director at Downside Up’s Drama Studio was the speaker of this round table and shared how shadow play help children with Down syndrome to express their feelings, to increase their self-esteem and confidence and to socialize.

Downside Up turn 19!

We’ve spent the past 19 years with you – our friends, supporters, and families. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations and say thank you to you for being around and helping our little kids. A lot has changed and much has been achieved over the past years.

Early assistance programmes by Downside Up are being put in place and enhanced, helping every year to improve lives of thousands of children with Down syndrome and their families. Beginning this year (for the first time in the history of the Foundation), we are taking care of graduates as well. Children who were supported by our specialists in the early years, have come back to us as schoolchildren and teenagers. So we had to address new challenges – how to provide psychological assistance to children and their parents, open new self-fulfilment opportunities, and offer career guidance for boys and girls with Down syndrome.

Downside Up set up a drama group and organised a summer recreation programme. The Foundation supported the opening of sports clubs for people with Down syndrome all across Russia. The educational activities of Downside Up were officially licensed by the Moscow Education Department, so we can now share our experience more effectively.

Our education campaigns were especially impactful. They included, among many others, an exhibition in GUM (famous department store of Red Square), a high-profile campaign in the VKontakte social network aimed at calling Down syndrome by its right name, and a career guidance project for teenagers. The latter won a prize at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

We will continue developing in all those areas. Our efforts will demonstrate that opportunities of children with Down syndrome can be limitless.

Moscow hosts 21st charity bike fest

Moscow hosted a charity bike ride to support children with Down syndrome. The key objective of the event organised by the Downside Up Foundation is to draw attention to people with special needs and raise funds to finance career guidance programmes for teenagers with Down syndrome, as well as educational programmes developed by the Foundation. The amount of money raised totalled RUB 4,907,128.

The high point of the 21st bike ride “Sport Vo Blago” (“Charity Sports”), which started in the Kaluga Region, was the Bike Fest held in Moscow. Parents of children under the Foundation’s care and young people with Down syndrome hit the road along with other participants, including: Andrei Vostrikov, multiple all-round world gymnastics champion among people with special mental needs, winner of over 70 various medals; Stepan Bezrukov, winner of over 20 medals in swimming; and Gleb Diachenko, multiple winner and medalist at the Special Olympics. They set a good example, showing that we all have special needs, and people with limited abilities can exceed! Mikhail Mikhailov, the father of eight kids, also took part in the ride. His youngest daughter was born with Down syndrome. After that, Mikhail and his wife decided to adopt two girls with the same special needs. Now their three youngest daughters are under the care of the Downside Up Foundation.

The route of the Moscow Bike Fest ran from Luzhniki to VDNH. After 100 km, anyone could join the remaining 23-kilometer ride along the most beautiful Moscow streets and embankments, which were closed for the bike ride. As a result, over 550 cyclists gathered at the start line, including corporate teams and individuals. Some of them were wearing bright suits and rode bicycles of unusual design. Everyone will remember a cyclist dressed as Father Frost, riding a bicycle that was transformed into a three-horse team (“troika”) and a cart with a Christmas tree.

At the finish line, the participants were greeted by their loyal supporters – little kids under the care of the Downside Up Foundation. They welcomed the riders with a heart-stirring ride on kids bikes. The Bike Fest ended up with an award ceremony, gala concert and prize drawing in VDNH.

The first Downside Up Europe Teens Cup took place in Moscow

A unique charity project, that knitted teenagers from European countries took place in Moscow and in culture and education tourism centre “Ethnomir”. It was called Downside Up Europe Teens Cup and was held for the first time. The idea of the event came to the Downside Up founder Jeremy Barnes and his 15- year-old daughter who see their mission both in supporting children with Down syndrome in Russia and in involving the young generation into charity.

The participants of the project, 14-16- year-old teenagers, collected money by their own efforts for the DSU educational programmes before coming to Russia. When gathered in Moscow they studied our culture and traditions together with DSU leavers. The teenagers went to see “Ethnomir”, investigated the capital centre, visited Kremlin, came down to the Bunker-42 in Taganka, walked around VDNKh.

In the end of their trip they spent a volunteer day at DSU and helped to prepare the educational and game materials for the new academic year. In the evening the guests with DSU graduates and employees walked along the Moscow river on a tourist boat.

Downside Up Charity run: a sports gala to support children with Down syndrome

The 7th annual Charity run within the framework of “Charity sport” project to support children with Down syndrome took place in Moscow. About 1000 runners stood on starting line. The event raised 1535900 roubles. All money will go to the Speech development programme “We start speaking” for children with Down syndrome all around Russia.

Novelties of this year Run are: the 50 metres distance for the smallest participants and a half maraphon (21 km). Those who did not find the strength to take part in the Run itself, could compete in the Fun Run, where wearing a bright unusual costume was more important than running fast. Organizers also prepared a lot of capturing funny amusements. Among them were a family quest, a concert, games and creative workshops for adults and kids, yoga training from an internationally recognized yoga teacher and others.

Nobody lost in the Run as all the participants could overcome themselves, the distance, stereotypes and myths about Down syndrome. But we would like to mention Denis Bulgakov, 20-years-old Michael and little Vasya`s father. He ran 20 km with a heavy jogging stroller and Vasya, who is enrolled into Downside Up programmes, himself.

Anastasia Myskina, the first Russian female tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title supported the event with her personal participation. The famous sportswoman held a special flash mob through social networking sites inviting everybody to train and run. The authors of the funniest pictures from trainings got prizes from her hands at the award ceremony. Kirov and Samara held their events on the same day as Moscow. Totally in May seven Russian cities took part in “Charity sport” Run including Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Omsk.

Downside Up and RSSU have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

Charitable Fund Downside Up and Russian State Social University have signed a Cooperation Agreement in the sphere of inclusive education and inclusive adapted physical education. Anna Portugalova, Downside Up CEO, and Natalya Pochinok, the RSSU Rector, subscribed their names to the Memorandum.

The participants of the ceremony pointed out the importance of understanding and gave high marks to the perspectives of the future cooperation in scientific research, education and consultations.The aim of the collaboration is to establish the infrastructure of social adaptation, integration, rehabilitation and assistance in improving the quality of life on basis of collaborative projects and events.

Anna Portugalova told about the meeting afterwards: “Together with the RSSU Rector Natalya Pochinok we discussed the plans for our closest cooperation. They concern football training lessons for the children with Down syndrome who attend Downside Up within the framework of “Charity sport” project and developing a technology to be transferred to trainers. We also touched the theme of joint educational programmes for social workers and psychologists. I may say that the agreement between us is both a high honor and invaluable help in our work. The resources of the largest social university in our country will help our fund to transfer our many years` experience to professionals and students. The cooperation with RSSU is the recognition of our achievements as well. I`m sure that our collaboration will help to fulfil our mission which is improving the quality of life for people with Down syndrome. We may try to make our long-cherished dream come true by combining our efforts”.

“A Memorandum of Understanding is very essential to us, - Irina Menshenina, DSU development director, emphasizes. “It gives us support from the scientific society in the sphere of transferring our long-term experience which we share now as practicians. To help this experience become significant for professionals, it should be supported with methodologies based on research which is a key moment for higher education”.

Downside Up was recognized as the best company of the year 2015

The business awards gala ceremony for the winners of the prize for “Best.ru / Company of the year-2015” took place in Moscow. Charitable fund Downside Up was recognized as the best company of the year in “Social projects” nomination for “Charity Sport” project. Evelina Blyodans, a famous TV presenter and DSU friend and honorary ambassador represented the fund and got the prize.

As Irina Menshenina, DSU development director says: “We`re so glad and proud to get this prestigious award. Our project “Charity Sport” celebrates its 20th anniversary. We gathered a real family of companies, participants of sport events and those getting aid from our organization around it. We are grateful to our partners, friends and all those companies that were and are supporting us with their active participation in the events of the project.”

The hall where the ceremony took place was decorated in a spacecraft style with the space robot Boris as the presenter who called the names of the winners. The prizes were given in three spheres: “Companies of the year”, “People of the year”, “Events and Projects of the year.” As in previous years, the guests included top executives, leading experts in different fields, social and political figures of our country and businessmen.

The aim of the project is to attract attention to the companies and individuals, whose energy, feeling and talent managed to create leading brands, projects and companies which became Russian market leaders.

«Lukomorie», a Downside Up theatre workshop unique project

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated for the 10th time this year and it is a good occasion to demonstrate the high creative potential which is hidden in people with 47 chromosomes. The festival which took place in the Central House of Actors in Moscow with the support of Downside Up was timed to coincide with this date.

The main idea of the event was focused on the opening night of the play “Lukomorie”, prepared by the “sunny” pupils of the theatre workshop which is located at Downside Up in cooperation with such brilliant masters of stage as Sergey Yurskiy who recited the text especially for the performance, George Avsharov and Sergey Fursov.

The theatre workshop which is attended by children with Down syndrome has just been working for several months. They were those who acted the major parts in the show performed as a shadow play. “We set great goals, with no allowance for Down syndrome, and we wanted to light the feeling of wonderful inspiration in the hearts of our spectators, not the sympathy.”- Nikolay Ilnitskiy, the play director wrote on his Facebook page on the eve of the opening night. He says, that the plastic performance aimed to demonstrate the children`s nature, as their plasticity is much richer than decorations.

One can tell about the success of the play from the spectators` feedback. It was more than just capturing to watch the show. It was inspiring and joyful in a special way, as it always happens when one watches a creative liberation of soul which is promoted by real art.

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