Russian language site:  


You are here

Olivia Wilde Plays a Girl With Down Syndrome

Actress Olivia Wilde appears in the latest moving film by Saatchi & Saatchi for CoorDown, Italy's national organization for people with Down Syndrome.

Previous efforts by Saatchi' s Milan office for the charity have won awards including 18 Cannes Lions, and this time the agency's New York office worked on the spot, which is narrated by a 19-year-old college student with Down Syndrome, Anna Rose Rubright. In this film, Wilde plays AnnaRose as she sees herself -- an ordinary girl, out with her family, laughing, crying, running and dancing. It's only at the end we see the real Anna Rose, and she asks "How do you see me?"

The spot, directed by Reed Morano at Pulse Films, highlights World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. It aims to start a conversation around how those living with Down Syndrome see themselves and how they can be disadvantaged when people pre-judge them based on their condition.

Children with Down syndrome met hundreds of new friends

Hundreds of people who are not indifferent to children with Down syndrome gathered on February 14 to take part in the charity ski race and prove once again that doing good is as generous as exciting and sporting. The 13th charity race to support children with Down syndrome broke the record for the number of participants. Despite bad weather 629 sportsmen stood on the starting line.

People came with their families, friends and colleagues. All that was done to encourage the participants of the race and help the little ones involved into Downside Up programmes to take their first step, say their first word, and go the kindergarten or to school. This year 1 595 795 rubles were collected on the early intervention programmes for “sunny” children. That`s a fantastic sum of money!

The race programme offered distances for everybody, from 500 m for the smallest children to more difficult 3, 5 and 10 km for adults. This year those who are most resilient could try a 15 km distance. The participants could take part in a relay race or joyful competitions without skis for corporate teams, and visit our famous open air kitchen, try hot tea and special “sport” mulled wine. Afterwards medals for all players and prizes for winners were prepared, as well as the entertainment programme and the draw where people could get valuable presents.

This year four-footed pets from a sled dog club traditionally took part in the race. Alaskan malamutes, so cute, who attracted attention of all little ones, took part in the exhibition dog sled ride. Certainly, all could pet them and take a picture.

The professional judging panel was represented by the head coach of the Russian national crossbow shooting team Svetlana Salnikova, the first Russian champion in the 24hours ski race and European champion in winter triathlon Natalia Sila-Novitskaya, and master of sports, the Russian champion and World and European Championships medalist Olga Klimova.

Annually ski race “Charity sport” is held in several Russian cities at the same time. This time Kirov started one day earlier and passed the torch to Moscow. Totally 11 cities from different Russian regions took part in Charity Sport ski race under the auspices of Downside Up.

DSU is a good deeds charity

The past two winter months were packed with different events for Downside Up. The charity held several actions aimed at raising money to support children with Down syndrome. Totally more than 1 200 000 roubles were collected on the early intervention programmes for them. Both individuals and business companies joined the events.

On December, 1 the main online Downside Up campaign titled “All-Russian charitable event #the farther you go into the wood” started. All guests could enter the virtual fir forest, which grew on the DSU website and choose any toy that was an irreplaceable gift for a child with special needs. It could be a speech therapy session or a lesson on counting, or even a preparing for school course. Those who gave presents had a chance to leave a wish for the children and their parents, post their own picture or invite their friends into the magic wood.

Our Christmas trees, however, appeared not only online. DSU friendly companies and partners put real beautiful trees in their offices, whose branches were decorated with children`s dreams. Anybody could give “sunny” children a chance to take their 1st step, say their 1st word or go to the 1st form.

And, surely, the winter without Christmas markets is not the winter! We could not help but take a part in some events held by companies to fundraise to support the early intervention programmes for children with Down syndrome. The employees in the offices where Christmas bazaars were organised had a chance to purchase unique handmade presents and contribute to the help for children

We also held to who we are and traditionally offered the companies to change their usual gifts for partners into our New year`s cards, which were made by the children with Down syndrome`s hands. It`s both unusual and warm courtesy as each card holds the warmth of the child`s hands, his parents` love and the educator`s talent.

We thank everybody who made a holiday to children with special needs. And who helped to believe that wishes come true not only on New Year`s day!

Downside Up participated in the russian branding awards ceremony

The traditional awards ceremony for the winners of the prize for “The Brand number 1 in Russia” and a pre New Year`s day gala concert took place at the State Kremlin Palace. Downside Up got a chance to participate in the event.

The award process was interchanged with the performances of the idols of Russian audience such as Larissa Dolina, Valeria, Lev Leshchenko, Lolita, Alexander Rosenbaum, Masha Rasputina, Valeriy Leontyev and others. The families enrolled into our programmes and friends of our fund were invited as well.

The winners told about social responsibility of their business and charity programmes they are involved in. One of the influential guests was Evelina Blyodans, a Downside Up honourary ambassador. She came to the stage together with her son Syoma who is a little recipient of our fund. She told about DSU work and offered the guests to support the little ones with Down syndrome with sending a text message to a short code 3443 containing letters DS and any sum of money to donate to the early intervention programmes. We want to thank the organisers of the Russian awards ceremony for the winners of the prize for the “Brand number 1 in Russia” for the brilliant opportunity and wonderful event.

Downside Up took part in the charity auction named Action!

A pre New Year`s Day charity auction takes place annually on the first December Saturday in Moscow. It is organised by Svetlana Bondarchuk and Eugeniya Popova`s PR International agency. The festive evening is a traditional gathering place for Moscow beau monde. Famous directors, scriptwriters, theatre and cinema actors, entertainment industry people and businessmen attend the event.

This year the project was supported by honoured Russian directors including Renata Litvinova, Anna Melikyan, Vladimir Khotinenko, Janik Faiziev, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alexey Utchitel and many others among them. Each of them made a narrative short film on any subject for the occasion. The movies were shown on a big screen. Afterwards an auction where any person could buy the picture he or she enjoyed started. The owners of the items gained the films and became the copyright holders.

Anna Melikyan`s drama “8” earned 9 million roubles which is a record. It made her the winner. “All actors asked nothing for their work”, she said. Totally the auction got more than 50 million roubles which will go to such charities as Downside Up, Let you live!, Gift of life, Anton`s right here, Women`s health, Exit, Artist, Life as a miracle, Creation.

Downside Up was represented by the fundraising director Irina Menshenina and the project manager Julia Goncharova. “It`s the first time Downside Up has got the honour to take part in such event”, Julia said after wards. – “It`s priceless for us as the auction will help provide the support for the children under our care. I`d like to thank Alexander Kott and Anna Tsukanova-Kott for their narrative short film “Transformation” which was put out for bids to raise money for Downside Up and got 1 million roulbles. We hope that our participation in this event will become regular. And we wish it from the bottom of our hearts.”

Downside Up continues its programme for non-commercial organizations with support of the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation

Downside Up Charitable Fund continues to carry out its charity programme for regional NCOs that support families raising children with Down syndrome. Downside Up has carried out the project “Improving organizational and financial sustainability of regional socially-oriented non-commercial organizations supporting children with Down syndrome and their families. Programme extension” with support of the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation since 2012.

According to this programme more than 40 NCOs have been trained for three years. Staff members of these organizations and representatives of parent associations have participated in webinars, trainings, conferences and study tours to Downside Up.

As a result “Charity Sports” project have been launched in ten cities while it's events have become annual. Partner relationships have been established with governmental bodies and institutions, as well as businesses, and now a lot of them support families of children with Down syndrome on a regular basis. Involving media in the events carried out in the framework of the programme helped draw attention of the society to the issues related to people with Down syndrome. So, more young children with Down syndrome and their families managed to receive support! The new two-year long cycle of the training programme includes online and face-to-face on-site training with the usage of the gained knowledge and experience.

A charity concert in support of Russian children with Down syndrome was held in New York

A charity concert was held at The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York on 27th March. A part of the money raised will go to Downside Up to support children with Down syndrome in Russia.

Musicians from different countries including Japan, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and the USA took part in the concert. The programme included Peter Tchaikovsky`s works who is regarded as one of the symbols of Russian culture. American celebrated Soprano Monique McDonald prepared the aria from “The Queen of Spades” for the concert in Russian language. “It was hard for me, she says, I interpreted every word and tried to pronounce them correctly. This language is the language of music that unites us and gives us the chance to help others”.

The winners of the first Charity Award, established by «Downside Up» were announced

The official ceremony of the first Charity Award in support of children with Down syndrome, established by «Downside Up», took place in Moscow. This Charity Award is given once in three years on the eve of the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which is observed on March 21. The idea to establish this award arose out of the global desire to thank people enrolled in support of children with Down syndrome and also with a view to synergize the efforts in this regard.

The Gala Evening at Ritz-Carlton was led by the famous Russian showman Valdis Pelsh and Amariya Rye, successful writer and our longstanding friend. Jeremy Barnes, Downside Up’s trustee, opened the ceremony and welcomed all participants. He noted: «18 years ago when «Downside Up» was formed no one could even imagine that it will reach such heights. Of course it would be impossible without massive efforts by hundreds people and organisations. Today we gathered here to thank all of you for all that you are doing for families, having children with Down syndrome», – Jeremy Barns addressed the audience.

«Our first experience was very successful», Yulia Kolesnichenko, press office chief of Downside Up said. «Of course, it was not easy to organize such big event. Moreover, it was our first experience. However, the ceremony was a great success and at the same time it was very heart-stirring. The words of appreciation and gratitude made the audience laugh and cry. Winners and guests came to the ceremony from different cities and countries. Throughout this event we heard: «For me it was the best evening for the whole year», «I have visited many ceremonies but this one has a specific atmosphere», and even «Now I know that for the coming years my goal is to make everything possible to step up to this stage once again and accept the Downside Up’s prize».

The prize-winners were governmental institutions, non-commercial organisations, Russian and foreign companies, mass media and members of the public, who have made outstanding contributions to support children with Down syndrome in Russia. The prizes were awarded in 12 categories. Sergey Koloskov, president of the Down's Syndrome Association was awarded for his outstanding contribution to raising public awareness of Down syndrome. On receiving this award he noted: «Children with Down syndrome and their families continued to be deprived of necessary support. They remain deprived of inclusive education, they deprived of support, which they need to integrate into society. We shouldn’t forget to draw the authorities’ attention to the need to create an effective system to support families, having children with Down syndrome».

Ministry of Family Affairs, Demographic and Social Policy for the Kaluga region and Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University were awarded for their contribution to the development of state system of support for children with Down syndrome.

«Institute of Correctional Pedagogy of the Russian Academy of Sciences» was awarded for cooperation in the development of the scientific and methodological basis of early intervention programmes for children with Down syndrome.

Resource center of inclusive pre-school institution «Kindergarten for everybody» was awarded for contribution to the development of inclusive education for school-age children with Down syndrome. Channel One Russia and International News & Information Agency «Russia Today» with special project «Life without barriers», and publishing house «Arguments and Facts» were awarded for coverage of Down syndrome in mass media.

The prize-winners of the first Charity Award in support of children with Down syndrome are:

Sverdlovsk Regional Public Organization Supporting Children with Down Syndrome and Their Families «Sun children» for contribution to the development of regional support services for children with Down syndrome.

«Boeing Russiа», «PepsiCo», «ExonMobile Russia Inc», «Veles Capital Investment Company» for corporate contributions to support services for children with Down syndrome.

«Societe Generale International Financial Group» and corporate sport activities, «QIWI Group» and charity event «Pereverni mir», «Deloitte CIS» and adventure race «Extra Mile» for society involvement and corporate contribution to support services for children with Down syndrome.

Evelina Bledans for outstanding contribution to raising public awareness of Down syndrome.

Department of the State Automobile Inspectorate for Borovsky District of the Kaluga region for the provision of security services in Charity Bike Ride «Sport Vo Blago» for many years.

Alexander Derevshikov for his commitment to «Sport Vo Blago» project for children with Down syndrome.

«JamilCo Group of Companies», «Shell Russia», «HSBC Bank Russia» for support of Charity Bike Ride «Sport Vo Blago» for children with Down syndrome over the years.

Downside Up specialists from Russia learn british experience

A group of Downside Up specialists from Russia (Moscow) together with their colleagues from Yekaterinburg have recently made study tour to the UK. Russian teachers have already made several visits to the UK, enjoyed fruitful meetings with British colleagues for sharing new ideas and experiences, for analyzing different educational programs and approaches. This time their main task was to learn more about speech and language development programs for early age, which British specialists use in their work. In the light of the changes in the educational system taking place in Russia today it is very important to analyze British experience: how different types of organisations (state, municipal, non-profit) support families and how they coexist and cooperate. And to look closely at the way the system of family support for children with special needs is implemented in the UK.

Tatiana Nechaeva, director of Family Support Center of Downside Up says: “We knew beforehand that we would see a more favourable picture of the situation than the existing one in Russia. Early Intervention System exists in the UK more than 30 years and there are no doubts that family-centered care model is the most appropriate model of early intervention for children with special needs. In England children with special needs are not isolated from society: there are a lot of different institutions of early intervention, classes with specialists at training centers and charitable organisations, special nurseries and schools, inclusive institutions and also special classes at mainstream schools are available. Moreover, a child, his or her parents and teachers get full support of specialists regarding a wide range of matters”.

Downside Up’s team has visited the classes on speech development at two non-governmental organisations. One of them is “21 and Co” which conducts its activities at the Langdon Down Centre in Normansfield, where Dr. John Langdon Down lived and worked. “21 and Co” is a charity offering help and support to children with Down syndrome and their families in South West London, Surrey. Its main activities are: speech and language development for children, social and communication skills, support for parents who have recently received a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child, support for brothers, sisters and other family members, awareness-raising activities in the local community.

Another organization - “Downright excellent” was founded by parents of children with Down syndrome about 8 years ago. This organization is also fundraising and conducts speech and language group therapy and communication and social interaction skills development for children of 0 to 9 years old. All programmes are conducted by experienced specialists. In England programmes, developed by Down Syndrome Educational Trust are extensively used. In particular, See and Learn programme, which is the basis for many speech and language therapists from the UK and is a standard for other approaches to follow, depending on a child’s needs. Unfortunately, there are no standardized programmes for children with Down syndrome in Russia.

“Downright excellent” organizes and delivers classes and meetings with families at Golden Lane Campus, which includes primary school, special educational needs school for children with motor problems and Early Intervention Center “Stay and Play”, where children can come with parents, play and also pass the time. Different children, including those with impairments of support-motor apparatus, are close to each other, move freely and play together. Specialists, volunteers and parents are helping them and for children with impairments of support-motor apparatus there is also a massive park of different technical supplies. And everybody feel comfortable! This space in full conformity with such descriptions as “a completely accessible environment”, “barrier free environment”.

“Bird in Bush Community Nursery” – is a municipal nursery and an excellent example of inclusion of young children with special needs with their typically developing peers. This wonderful nursery is a part of The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which began as the Westminster Health Society in 1903. The main task of this foundation is to support and to offer high quality education and healthcare services to families with children of early and pre-school age.

During this study-tour Russian specialists have visited the Early Years Center Wandsworth, which offer support to young children of 0 to 8 years who have significant or complex needs or disabilities (including Down syndrome) and their families living in Wandsworth. This Center not only delivers the classes for children but also offers information and practical support to families in finding family support services and trainings, helps to contact with other parents etc. The Early Years Center Wandsworth also offers support in processing documents for getting special support of a child at education institution.

Inclusion of young children with special needs in mainstream nurseries and schools in London is an accurately regulated process of accompanying, including choosing a tutor, visiting specialists of Early Intervention Centers and getting methodological recommendations from them, and also legal support of family if required. For example, voluntary group of parents Positive Parent Action (PPA) offers information and psychological support for families, raising children with special needs.

Not only Downside Up’s specialists from Moscow participated in this study tour, but also their colleagues from Yekaterinburg: representatives of two pilot enterprises of Downside Up in Sverdlovsk region (in Project “Dissemination of family-centered model, developed at Downside up”): Loginova Nadezhda, director of Center of psychology-pedagogical rehabilitation, Zarechniy and Drobakhina Inna, deputy director for educational work of “Rehabilitation center for children and teenagers with special needs”, Kamensk-Uralskiy. And longstanding partner of Downside Up - Tatiana Cherkasova, the chairperson of “Solnechnyie Deti” (“Sunny Children”) parents organization.

The Boeing grant

We are pleased to announce The Boeing Company, GCC grant award aimed to provide educational support to the families in Russia raising children with Down syndrome of 3-6 years old having behavior and psychological difficulties, and families in difficult social situation. This is the fourth Boeing grant we operate to address the needs of a child and his or her family in the areas such as relationships between child and parents, child and teachers, and others. Children will attend educational group sessions separately from their parents and learn to act unaided by them. While children are at the session, parents attend a parent support group run by a psychologist. The project will last till June 2015.

(Photo: Boeing Team with Andrey Vostrikov, Special Olympic Games champion at CHARITY SPORTS Bike Ride)