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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.


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.

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.

Teens with Ddown syndrome participated in «Volunteer day»

Children in ward of «Downside Up» charity fund participated in «Volunteer day» under the auspices of companon animals`s nutrition Center located in Moscow satellite town Lukovicy. All cynologists, vets and office staff of the Center welcomed «sunny» volunteers.

Founded in 2009 in Lukovicy the Center today is a home for little under one hundred different breeds of dogs, such as tiny chihuahua, central asian ovcharka, poodles, spitz and others, popular among dog fanciers. Dogs of small breeds live in a modern one-floor building with offices, for staff only rooms, and a big hall cabined off for multiple «appartments».

«For hundreds of thousands years people live under the same roof with companion animals. They make our world a more harmonious place to live in, and people need that cohesion» - welcomed guests acting director of the Center Tatyana Belyavskaya.

Two by two under the guidence of experienced personel children were off to water dogs and cleaning. The most experienced volunteers had to scrub and flea dogs in special hairdressing room.

The day finished with exchanging of gifts. Nadezhda Yakovleva, the lead specialist of «Downside Up» charity fund, presented staff of the Center with desk loose-leaf calendars pictured with drawings of «sunny» kids. Tatyana Belyavskaya in return presented children with merit badges of Cynoligists Assistent.

Team of teens with Down syndrome took part in the mini-football tournament «Charity sport»

The Annual spring benefit tournament «Charity sport» has taken place In Moscow`s sport center LFK CSKA. The sole purpose of the tournament was to support children with Down syndrome. 12 teams took part in the tournament. 10 teams represented leading football teams and 2 teams represented children`s parents of «Downside Up» charity fund.

A sum of 1025000 rubles was collected by combined efforts. The money will be spent for football training of teens with Down syndrome as part of the project «Football for hope».

For the first time ever, team of children with Down syndrome took part in competition! They had a friendly game at mini-football against all captain team. Match scores of the game are: first half 4:1, second half 3:0. Survey party from FIFA attended the game. FIFA, with their program «Sport for hope» since 2017 supports football training for children with Down syndrome.

The children for couple of seasons already have been taught to play football by Alexandr Mahov as a coach. Alexandr Mahov is Dean of students in RGSU`s physical education faculty, doctor of education, member of Russian Paralympic Committee.

Downside Up has grown an orange grove for the children with Down syndrome

«Downside Up» charity fund has recently had promotional program «To give the orange». Our activity was coincided with March 21, World Down syndrome day. We pursued the purpose to draw attention to mentally challenged people and raise funds for supporting people with Down syndrome. We chose an orange as our simbol because of it`s resembling to sun. As you may know people with Down syndrome are often called «sunshiny».

It was easy to take part in our promotional program. All it took was internet. Everyone could visit our web-site, choose one of the fruits from the large tree and make a donation, making the fruit grow. After two weeks 1101 oranges were grown and 1240377 rubles were raised for «sunshine kids».

Money we`ve raised together will be spent for speech therapists, teachers and other necessities for «sunshiny kids» including special social programs development.

Our fund also provides psychological, pedagogical and social services for mentally challenged children and their families. We have helped to more than 7000 mentally challenged children and trained 16000 social and medical workers since 1997.

The theatre workshop Downside Up presented a new performance «Alice's dream»

On March, 21 the World Down Syndrome Day was observed across the globe. Following a recent but already heartwarming tradition the theatre workshop acting under the auspices of the Downside Up charitable foundation has staged a new performance styled as a shadow show to mark this day. The performance is called «Alice's dream» and is based on Lewis Carroll's well-known book «Alice in Wonderland».

Preceding the show, Ms. Anna Portugalova, director of the Downside Up charitable foundation, greeted everyone with a speech: «All our girls and boys, members of the theatre workshop, have been preparing for this day for a long time, rehearsing and doing their best. We see how they unfold and shape their talents in the course of the theatre classes, and we are delighted with them».

The preparation works for new performance have been launched last оctober. «There are nearly thirty acts in the performance, and these imply numerous scenes, positions and movements, - the theatre director Nicholai Ilnitzkiy says. - We have assembled all parts of the performance together only for the final rehearsal which took place yesterday. Before we had to master the stuff through trainings aimed at developing attention, imagination, emotional and physical activity memory».

«Alice's dream» is another exact coincidence with the spectators and actors emotional mood, with deliberate entwinement of conceptual emphasis and symbols. This allows the director to say: «We staged the performance upon Carroll's work but about our stuff». It's true, there is more than enough of «own» stuff in Carroll's fairytale in sync with the problems of integrating special people into everyday life.

«Magic», «wonder» or, as Alice herself put it in Carroll's fairytale, «curiouser and curiouser» - such words could be used to describe the impression of the first night. Both the fragile, appealing shape of Alice and the disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat as well as the extraordinary expressive plasticity of the Hatter, and the «Tea Parties» performed by the «sunny» actors at the fabulous professional mastery level - all of this made a deep long lasting impression on the spectators.

If there is anything one could regret after such a magnificent show the only thing would probably be that it ended up so quickly.