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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.

Four-footed colleagues and the career guidance program for people with Down syndrome

Downside Up Charity Fund and Mars Company represented by Pedigree Trademark did the first Russian research in the field of career guidance for people with Down syndrome. It allowed them to get basic knowledge about caring for dogs.

The experiment started in May 2015 with the preparation stage up to November. It included 5 participants of the project to come twice a week to a canine centre and a hotel for dogs Hors located near Moscow. As animals feel more lonely being far from their masters, it is there where they need special care. The young people learned how to work, how to be responsible and independent when caring for dogs. Therefore this helped to find one solution for two problems.

A specially designed program started with “the attentive adaptation”, when participants were supported by dog specialists and psychologists all the time, who also helped to control all stages of work. Then came the time for “the free adaptation”, when the young people got more freedom as they knew the animals, their needs and what they had to do.

“17 years ago the main task for our fund was children with Down syndrome staying with their families, their education and socialization. There were so many parents who abandoned them as there didn`t know what to do with their baby. Today we need to go further and develop the possibilities for the realization of their personal potential in career and society”, -Irina Menshenina, Development Director says.

«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.

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.

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”.

Cooking class with Tupperware Inc.

Today Tupperware Inc. held a cooking class for our children. Under the guidance of the chef, the children learned to cook three summer courses: funny sandwiches, a "dynno-strawberry" drink, and a fruit salad.
All products and utensils for the class were provided by Tupperware. The company also presented gifts to the children. The children in return gave souvenirs, made ​​by the kids at DSU. The class ended with a friendly tasting, during which everyone was treated - children, parents and teachers.

We would like to shout out a huge thank you to Tupperware Inc.! What a great idea, and a wonderful example of active charity!

LET ALL THE CHILDREN GO HOME!

“A visit to Downside Up, where we saw parents bring their little children to a junior group learning session was enough for us to decide to take our child home. We rushed immediately to collect all the necessary documents to take our daughter home. She was six weeks old then…And all these years Downside Up Early Intervention centre has been the only place where we received help". Ludmila Kirillov, the mother of a 6-years old girl Nika.

There is hope specialists in maternity homes will no longer advise parents to abandon children with Down syndrome – we wrote about it in our previous issue. But is this really enough for families to have confidence in the future? It is the lack of objective information and early intervention which makes parents so unsure of their capabilities to raise a special needs child. More than once we were witness to parents’ changing their mind and refusing to abandon after they were given support and told their children had future.
The Kirillovs are only one of the 3700 families registered on Downside Up programs.

Please make a donation and help us support the families of children with Down syndrome.

£12 is the cost of special literature package for families of new-born children with special needs;
£27 is the cost of a session with a psychologist for parents;
£32 is the cost of a home visit of an early intervention specialist to a family of a 16-months old child.

Let every child go home with their families. Thank you for your generosity!

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