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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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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