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A girl with Down's syndrome opened the FIFA World Cup

It happened! A unique event in the world of sports! For the first time in history, the World Championship in football FIFA 2018, which takes place in Russia, was opened by Angelina Makarova, a 12-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. Trust fund "Love syndrome" as an accompanying judge went on the field with captains of national teams and together with the arbiter defined the roles teams of Russia and Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the world championship.

Angelina studies in the 5th form of the Moscow school, she is actively involved in sports. She has a second youth category in swimming. Lina is the winner and prize-winner of all-Russian and city competitions for people with Down's syndrome in the category of LIN, the prize-winner of the Special Olympics games in individual standings on the short track. Angelina loves football since childhood. Twice a week she goes to the football team, where dozens Other children with Down's syndrome under the leadership of Alexander Sergeevich Makhov, dean faculty of physical culture RSSU, are engaged in football.

For 2 years the social program FIFA "Football for Hope" in our country supports the education of children and adolescents with Down Syndrome of this game. Football teams for children with Down syndrome - the first Downside Up, Love Syndrome and Russian State University.

Earlier, Angelina became the heroine of the photo exhibition # FOOTBALLVOBLAGO, which now takes place in International Airport "Sheremetyevo" and will finish on July 31. She and the other guys with Down's syndrome from the football team became the protagonists of the photo exhibition along with the players from the Russian national team and several football clubs, football legends, coaches and sports commentators.

The exhibition is held within the framework of the All-Russian Charity Project # FOOTBALLVOBLAGO, based on the idea of ​​the social importance of football, its developmental and unifying mission. The funds raised during the project will be used to create football in the regions for people with Down's syndrome and the organization in 2019 of open competitions on mini- football in Moscow.

“Downside Up Charity Fund” has joined the Agreement of Supporting people with different mental health conditions

Press conference devoted to the launch of World Autism Awareness Month has been held in Moscow. The event was attended by a number of heads of foundations supporting people with different mental health conditions, particularly Anna Portugalova, Director of the “Downside Up Charity Fund”, Lubov Arkus (“Solution in Saint Petersburg”, “Anton is nearby”), Natalia Vodianova (“Naked Heart Foundation”), Natalia Zlobina (“Solution in Belgorod”), Ivan Rozhansky (“Life Way”), Avdotia Smirnova (“Solution”).

The main result of the joint meeting is signing of the Cooperation Agreement which will allow better involving government and society in solving problems of people with mental disabilities.

Anna Portugalova, Director of the “Downside Up Charity Fund”: «It is very important for us. We appreciate a lot our colleagues’ work, and we are very glad to be partners. Our foundations have similar difficulties, common goals, and the shared audience – people with different health conditions yet with equal rights for good life. Every foundation has accumulated a vast work experience; we have much to share with each other. We are signing the Agreement to consolidate our efforts in overcoming difficulties that occur in lives of people under our care, and in creating new opportunities for them. Each of us is speaking about importance of supporting people with mental disabilities, but until now we were on our own. From now on, our many voices will merge into one which will be stronger, more confident and powerful, and which will allow us to communicate our vision of the situation, our suggestions and solutions. It’s great that we have become mature enough to do it together. The next step is to meet and discuss particular joint actions.

Among main principles of the joint work the participants marked: creating sustainable schemes that could be implemented together with government bodies (executive authorities) and their subordinate education, health care, social care, culture and sport bodies; working out set of help measures that would be provided to people with mental health conditions during their lifetime; learning world’s best practice proved by researches; reforming psychoneurological foster institutions; raising society awareness; creating the Ethic Code.

Tatiana Nechaeva, Director of the Family Support Centre, “Downside Up Charity Fund”: «Signing the Agreement is a very important step for all participants. I think that the moment is very appropriate, not just because April is the Autism Awareness Month. Down syndrome, autism, other mental health conditions have been talked about before. But now the question is being asked more often: what next? This issue is being discussed very widely at all levels: non-profit organizations, society, and government. It’s very important that every Agreement participant is using real experience in his/her work. This is worth of respect and trust.

One more important point. Now we are speaking about people with Down syndrome, autism, other mental health conditions. But we should speak and think wider – how to help and support people in any situation and condition. There are older people, people suffering from Alzheimer disease, etc. Each of us can be concerned, now or in future. It would be better if changes are powered by the society’s attitude. The more foundations that really help, the better. Out Agreement declares that non-profit organizations have valuable experience and knowledge, and can be equal partners of the government and part of people support system, as it happens all over the world”

Teenagers with Down syndrome went on a tour of the Danone factory

Teenagers attending vocational guidance and theatre workshop in the “Downside Up Charity Fund” went on a parent-guided tour of the Danone factory located in Lyubuchany village near to Chekhov.

Young guests were warmly welcomed at the factory. Before the tour, they watched the film about safety rules on the factory together with the guides Nadezhda and Ksenia. 26 participants made up two groups – one group visited production facilities while the other was invited to product tastings and master classes.

We were pleased that much attention is paid to safety and sterility on the factory. At the entrance the guests were asked to take off all jewelry; each group member was given a disposable cap, a robe, and special shoes. Then everybody washed hands with a washing liquid in a special room. It is noisy on the factory, so head-phones are a must. They protect ears and allow listening to what the guide says. Young people watched the process of packing ready dairy products into glasses and bottles.

Afterwards everybody went to the master class. The guide told why yogurts are good for health. Then came the tasting. Later on, one of the teenagers’ mom shared her impressions: “The most amazing for me was the fact that Alesha enjoyed eating fruit-flavoured yogurt. It was only with chocolate that he ate before.”

During the master class the guests could design a package and make a yogurt by their own recipe. The guests were given plain yogurt, cans with different jams, and empty bowls, they could mix different flavours and taste the result. After that, everyone created his/her own package design with the help of paints and brushes. The tour lasted for almost three hours, but this time passed very quickly.

Downside Up took a part in a conference on problems of social adaptation of people with Down Syndrome

A press conference, confined to March 21st, “World Down Syndrome Day: problems of social adaptation in Russia” took place in Moscow. Participants discussed problems of development and social adaptation of children with Down Syndrome, programs of early intervention and inclusive education, perspectives of social adaptation in Russia.

A head of the charity foundation “Downside Up” Anna Portugalova spoke on complex system of support for people with Down Syndrome and their families and shared research results made by the foundation. She spoke about problems that families face in different periods of life and discussed the need to build an effective integrated support system for people with the Down Syndrome and their families.

At the same time, Anna stressed out that over the past 10 years, there have been many positive changes thanks to the efforts of non-profit organizations, including parental ones, to the efforts of the government, and noted a positive active role of media in this process. She also warned to avoid other extreme situation: showing possibilities of people with Down Syndrome one cites successful example and may create false feeling that there is no need to create conditions for including people with Down Syndrome into society. Everyone has different possibilities and even behind the most successful example stands hard work and support of specialists.

Moscow has held a charity concert supporting children with Down Syndrome

A charity event supporting children with Down Syndrome had been held in Moscow`s State Geological Museum. The event was orginised by the “Downside Up” foundation and “Veles Capital” investment company.

Guests of the event could enjoy performances of opera celebrities – The Bolshoi Theatre`s soloist Marat Gali and People`s Artist of Russia Olga Guriakova, who performed arias from A. Scarlatti`s, J. Puccini`s, P.I. Tchaikovsky`s and R. Wagner`s operas, duets from R. Schumann`s, E. Elgar`s and I. Kalman`s compositions.

Artists were accompanied by an associate professor of the Moscow Conservatory, an international stage concertmaster Stanislav Dyachenko, who also have acted as a host of this evening, making a brief excursion into the history of opera music.
As a result of the concert, it was possible to rally more than 400 thousand rubles for development programs of children with Down Syndrome.

Director of the Charitable Fund «Downside Up» was among the 75 most distinguished people of the country

«Russian reporter» magazine presented a list of «75 most distinguished people of the country»— a study of positive reputation in public activities among benefactors, urban activists, human rights defenders, ecologists, educators and animal rights activists. Anna Portugalova — Director of the Charitable Fund «Downside Up» was noted with appreciation in the category of «Benefactors — assistance to elderly people, children, people with disabilities, and socially unprotected groups».

In the preface of the publication on behalf of the editorial staff, they wrote: «This is not a rating, we don't categorize places. It is a way to get to know the country better. We initially thought of compiling a list of 50 respected people in five categories, given our limitations, as well as the number of interviews and expert surveys, that we could have accumulated. But it turned out that in one of the categories — among the benefactors — still cannot meet the top ten because of the large number of recommendations. We did not dare to make our choice arbitrarily without taking into account the views of experts. Then it turned into 75».

Anna Portugalova, Director of the Charitable Found «Downside Up» told: «The fact that I was among the number of 75 the most respected people in the country is a complete surprise to me. This is not only a great honor for me. This is primarily the foremost recognition of services and activities of the Fund, the work of our entire team, I am happy to be part of. This year our Fund celebrates its twentieth anniversary, so recognition of merits of «Downside Up» just now is very symbolic. It is doubly pleasant and honorable to be in such a nice and reputable company. The fact itself is noteworthy that a known Publication noted different people of charity and public organizations, human rights activists, environmentalists, educators, and others. All those people who engage in good deeds really change the situation in our country and most important that these are not slogans, not words, but deeds and actions. Proactive people, who are caught with the idea, can energize others by their energy. The society had already appreciated those activities by the changes taking place in Russia. I’m grateful to «Russian reporter» magazine which brought up and voiced so important subject».

Downside Up Charitable Fund celebrates its 20th anniversary!

This year the Downside Up Charitable Fund in Moscow celebrated its 20th anniversary. Downside Up is the first Charitable Fund in Russia aiming to improve the quality of life for children with Down syndrome and to dispel stereotypes about them. The Fund has already started to receive congratulations and presents - contributions to support programmes for children and teenagers with Down syndrome. You can help children by making a donation yourself or on behalf of your company at the Downside Up’s jubilee page.

During this time, we have come a long way from a small organization that has helped several dozen families, to the Recourse Center that distantly supports thousands of people with Down syndrome in Russia and beyond. Currently the Fund processes, systematizes and transfers to other organisations gained experience, innovative in pedagogical and educational spheres.

Thank to the great efforts of professional Fund's team, support of their friends and partners every family can get any information on Down syndrome and participate in Downside Up's programmes. During these 20 years significant efforts have been made. Those are some of the achievements, of which the Fund can be justly proud:

We created many forms of face-to-face and distance learning support for 8 350 families;

- A unique well-structured library has been established for families and specialists consisted of our own author's developments, periodicals and translated literature, 241 600 copies of books and journals were produced;

- Courses of enhanced qualifications for specialists have been developed, about 21 150 specialists, parents and NGO members were trained.

- Thanks to awareness raising activities and «CHARITY SPORTS» events, which involved more than 19 000 people, the Fund made positive changes for families, raising children with Down syndrome.

All these years the Fund was responsive to the changing situation in the social sphere and responded to the emerging needs of families. Therefore, Downside Up's teachers with 20 years of pedagogical experience, created a variety of family support forms: social support, studios of creative and social development for children, parents' club, electronic newsletters «VyrastayKA», training videos for parents, programmes for families with children older than 7 years, career counselling programmes for teenagers. They create and expanded opportunities for participation in sports for people with Down syndrome in Russia with the help of «CHARITY SPORTS. KIDS» programme and many others.

There are many changes in educational sphere. Downside Up has already been working for several years as the Education Center, which provides trainings and methodological support for professionals (teachers, psychologists, educators, etc.), who are working with children with Down syndrome and their families. After the course, each specialist receives a certificate of enhanced qualification of the state standard. There are also educational activities for parents. Published and distributed new speech development methodological guide for Children with Down syndrome «Let’s Start to Talk!» designed at Downside Up and followed by workshops.

One of the most exciting and important events was establishment in 2016 charitable fund «Syndrome of Love». The new Fund has an important role – fundraising for ongoing and new programmes of Family Support Center «Downside Up» supporting people with Down syndrome.

«I want to thank everyone who is involved in the Fund's activities - all those who were alongside Downside Up for 20 years, support our children, participate in our events «CHARITY SPORTS», those who joined recently! Thanks to our common efforts in Russia, there have been many positive changes in the lives of people with Down syndrome and their environment! Thank you for being with us!» - Anna Portugalova, Downside Up Director.

The effectiveness of the Fund's programs is recognized at Russian and international levels by such organisations as the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the Institute of Correctional Pedagogics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University, the Russian State Social University, Down Syndrome International, European Down Syndrome Association, the International Society on Early Intervention, FIFA, Oxford University Press and others.

Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Downside Up Charitable Fund

This year the Downside Up Charitable Fund in Moscow celebrated its 20th anniversary with a national conference, themed: «People with Down Syndrome and other special mental needs: Right for the future». Downside Up Charitable Fund is an EDSA member since many years. Over 300 participants from 60 Russian cities came to inform themselves in numerous lectures and workshops and to exchange experiences and good practices.

On Friday 1st December the conference was opened by Anna Portugalova, director of Downside Up and Florence Garrett, a young woman with DS (see picture at the top). Aleksander Borovykh, the strategy director of the Charitable Fund give an overview of the situation of people with DS in Russia.

In the following panel ten different short lectures were given in plenum. These topics were then presented more in detail in the afternoon and discussed with the audience in round table sessions.The evening was dedicated to the Award ceremony. Lot of individuals and groups were allocated for their outstanding work.

On Saturday, 2nd December 16 workshop-sessions «Effective practices» were offered and the issues discussed in smaller groups. After lunch families with their children were invited to a festival with theater- and dance performances, different sport and fun activities for the children, like a mini-football training.

DS EXPERTS FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES INVITED TO MOSCOW

Downside Up invited a few DS experts from abroad to enrich the conference with their contributions.

Gert de Graaf from the Stichting Down Syndroom in the Netherlands presented his research work, which provided the basis for an overview of birth and population prevalence for Down Syndrome in Russia.

Amy Allison, a therapist from DS Guild of Greater Kansas City, USA presented a model on how to build a support network for individuals with DS.

Veronique Garrett, who with her daughter Florence were the instigators of the Downside Up Charitable Fund had a talk about how an active social life for people with special mental needs can be organized.

Cora Halder, German Down Syndrom InfoCenter, presented topic «Education in mainstream and special schools under the aspect of preparing for a job».

One of the workshops on the saturday was given by Christel Manske, from Hamburg, Germany.

Every foreign speaker had its own personal interpreter, so was able to follow the lectures. In the weeks before the conference these interpreters had translated the presentations in Russian language. They also translated our talks for this very interested audience. Besides that they were always on our side and also helped us through the very challenging subway system in Moscow, so that we could not get lost.

The conference was very well organized. Lectures were short and to the point. Experts from different parts of Russia talked about: the situation of people with DS in Russia; perinatal support, effective models of Early Intervention; career guidance and employment; supported living, social orphanhood and other topics.

Charity Fund «Downside Up» held a traditional charity Bicycle Race

The end of this summer charity season «Sport for a cause» -2017 was marked by two cycling events: «Velosotnia» on August 26 and «Bicycle Race» on August 27. During this year all companies, who took part in «Velosotnia» raised more than 17 million rubles for charitable programs to help children with Down syndrome and their families.

Several corporate teams took part in «Velosotnia» in the vast territories of Kaluga oblast this year. 11 amateur teams also supported the cycling event. Teams got over 110-kilometers of routes during the race and received unforgettable impressions.

Together with young cyclists from «The Center for family support of «Downside Up» their parents and young people with Down syndrome also conquered the roads, among them: Andrey Vostrikov — multiple world champion in gymnastics among people with specific mental characteristics, winner of more than 70 medals and Stepan Bezrukov — swimmer, who already has over 20 medals.

At the finish, the convoy was greeted by the most devoted fans — young wards of «The Center for family support of «Downside Up». They welcomed the participants by touching response ride on children's bicycles. Families and friends came to support the young cyclists.

Children with Down syndrome have got acquainted with the work of the Fire Service

Children with Down syndrome visited Fire Station No. 4 in Moscow. The guys and their parents were shown the firefighters on duty, where they live while on standby duty, how they receive fire-alarm calls and what tools and equipment they have.

Young visitors also were told how to put out a fire properly and how to behave upon detection of fire. The biggest excitement and emotions were from a photo session in a real fire truck and splashing around under water jet spray on a hot summer day.

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