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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.

Downside Up сompletes its fundraiser «The Further You Go»

Downside Up has completed its on-line fundraiser, «The Further You Go», where participants were given the chance to play Santa Claus on the cusp of the holiday. These generous individuals worked their magic by giving the fund’s children gifts and skills, which they will certainly need later in life. During the fundraiser, donors picked out a virtual Christmas tree and ornament with a gift for a child and then paid for it.

«The further you go, the more goodwill you'll find». They were certain of this at the fund, and they were right! 627 donors took part in the initiative and helped raise 607,960 rubles. Each participant hung an ornament with a child’s wish on the tree, and this forest of magical Christmas trees grew and grew! This miracle was possible because hundreds of people came together to change the future for children with Down syndrome. It’s so important – to speak so that people understand you, to learn to befriend others, to find common ground with adults, to be able to read to enter the first grade.

«The Further You Go» fundraiser received the Golden Cat award from the Russian Fundraiser Association for «best on-line fundraiser».

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.

The first Downside Up Europe Teens Cup took place in Moscow

A unique charity project, that knitted teenagers from European countries took place in Moscow and in culture and education tourism centre “Ethnomir”. It was called Downside Up Europe Teens Cup and was held for the first time. The idea of the event came to the Downside Up founder Jeremy Barnes and his 15- year-old daughter who see their mission both in supporting children with Down syndrome in Russia and in involving the young generation into charity.

The participants of the project, 14-16- year-old teenagers, collected money by their own efforts for the DSU educational programmes before coming to Russia. When gathered in Moscow they studied our culture and traditions together with DSU leavers. The teenagers went to see “Ethnomir”, investigated the capital centre, visited Kremlin, came down to the Bunker-42 in Taganka, walked around VDNKh.

In the end of their trip they spent a volunteer day at DSU and helped to prepare the educational and game materials for the new academic year. In the evening the guests with DSU graduates and employees walked along the Moscow river on a tourist boat.

Downside Up Charity run: a sports gala to support children with Down syndrome

The 7th annual Charity run within the framework of “Charity sport” project to support children with Down syndrome took place in Moscow. About 1000 runners stood on starting line. The event raised 1535900 roubles. All money will go to the Speech development programme “We start speaking” for children with Down syndrome all around Russia.

Novelties of this year Run are: the 50 metres distance for the smallest participants and a half maraphon (21 km). Those who did not find the strength to take part in the Run itself, could compete in the Fun Run, where wearing a bright unusual costume was more important than running fast. Organizers also prepared a lot of capturing funny amusements. Among them were a family quest, a concert, games and creative workshops for adults and kids, yoga training from an internationally recognized yoga teacher and others.

Nobody lost in the Run as all the participants could overcome themselves, the distance, stereotypes and myths about Down syndrome. But we would like to mention Denis Bulgakov, 20-years-old Michael and little Vasya`s father. He ran 20 km with a heavy jogging stroller and Vasya, who is enrolled into Downside Up programmes, himself.

Anastasia Myskina, the first Russian female tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title supported the event with her personal participation. The famous sportswoman held a special flash mob through social networking sites inviting everybody to train and run. The authors of the funniest pictures from trainings got prizes from her hands at the award ceremony. Kirov and Samara held their events on the same day as Moscow. Totally in May seven Russian cities took part in “Charity sport” Run including Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Omsk.

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.

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