Russian language site:  

Professional

You are here

“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”

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.

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.

Downside Up won the grant!

Moscow`s government Public Relations Committee informed public of «The Grant Competition – 2017» results. Downside Up Charity Fund was among the winners, and received a grant in nomination «Clemency and care: assistance physically challenged, and people with serious and desperate diseases ». The victory ensures that Downside Up Charity Fund can help to raise qualification of Moscow specialists, working with children suffering from Down syndrome and their families.

The Committee`s Chairman Alexandra Alexandrova noticed that this year`s applications were well-thought-out. It was a step up in comparison with the last year. The number of NPO (non-profit organisations ) which took part in the Competition has also increased. «181 organisations were considered as the best. We are sure that Moscow government`s investment of 273 million rubles in the best projects will be helpful for the good of society», - Alexandra Alexandrova said.

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.

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 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.

Pages