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The Meaning of World Down Syndrome Day 2023 for the World and Humanity

The Meaning of World Down Syndrome Day 2023 for the World and Humanity

The Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) 2023 was successfully held in the city of Yogyakarta. (Photo by Hendro SB/Warta Jogja)

WARTAJOGJA.ID - World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is the main basis for the resolution from the United Nations (UN) that the world has agreed that World Down Syndrome Day will be celebrated on March 21. This has also been officially declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 20, 2007 which stated that World Down Syndrome Day falls on March 21. Apart from that, it was also strengthened based on a resolution from the UN, that World Down Syndrome Day was established by the UN in 2012 through the UN general assembly on December 19, 2011.

The United Nations (UN), through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), states that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a United Nations International Human Rights agreement which is intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.

As is known, Down Syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are part of the genes that determine the formation and function of the baby's body during pregnancy and after birth. Someone who has Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome so that in general there are only two 21st chromosomes, while someone who has Down syndrome has three 21st chromosomes.

Down Syndrome can also be recognized by looking at the clinical manifestations which are quite typical. This disorder, which has an impact on retarded physical and mental growth, was first recognized in 1866 by Dr John Langdon Down, because it has characteristics such as relatively short height, a narrow head, a flat nose resembling a Mongoloid and is often also known as mongolism.


Children with Down Syndrome in Yogyakarta. (Photo by Hendro SB/Warta Jogja)

Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day in Indonesia

Every March 21st around the world celebrates WDSD. In this case, Indonesia is celebrating World Down Syndrome Day based on the international theme, namely "With Us Not For Us". The Indonesian government itself has also ratified the CRPD through Law no. 19 of 2011 concerning Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (Convention Concerning the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). Then, the Indonesian government has also passed the Law on Persons with Disabilities (UU No.8/2016) which adopts the CRPD.

And then, at the celebration of World Down Syndrome Day especially in the Special Region of Yogyakarta city, which part one of the provinces in Indonesia also referred to the international theme of WDSD, namely "With Us Not For Us". Yogyakarta Province itself also has Regional Regulation no. 5 of 2022 concerning the Implementation, Respect, Protection and Fulfillment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which is also adopted from Law No. 8 of 2016 concerning Persons with Disabilities and also the CRPD.

The series of WDSD events starting on March 5 and 19 2023, event organizers such as the Indonesian Down Syndrome Human Foundation (YIDSI) with the Association of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome (POTADS), Peneleh Publishers and also the main things are getting support from the Special Region government of Yogyakarta Province and Media Partners (News Outlet) from Warta Jogja have organized the celebration smoothly.

The WDSD event on March 5, 2023 was successfully held at Yogyakarta City Hall included the Charity Gowes which was participated by the people of the city of Yogyakarta, then the competitions which were specifically participated in by people with Down Syndrome, such as the Fashion Show and Batik Umpluk coloring competition.

The WDSD series of events on March 19, 2023, which was also held at Yogyakarta City Hall, several activities were also successfully carried out including Music Performances, Fashion Shows, Martial Arts, Angklung Performances and also special dance performances created by Indonesian Art Maestro named Didik Nini Thowok and then a Talk Show with theme about "Syndromatography".

Vice Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta Province, KGPAA Paku Alam X gives a moral support to the committee members involved in the WDSD 2023 event. He is pleased with the existence of disability organizations in the city of Yogyakarta, as individuals with Down syndrome can be well-monitored. Importantly, there is no distinction among any group of people.

“I am very happy and support organizations for people with disabilities in Yogyakarta. In essence, I representing the government of Yogyakarta, highly appreciate and fully support the WDSD 2023 event,” he said on Sunday, March 19, 2023.

Following the theme of the WDSD 2023, KGPAA Paku Alam X will fight to ensure the rights of inclusion and well-being for individuals with Down Syndrome by creating a conducive and supportive environment. Additionally, he emphasizes should have leave the stigma or stereotype that individuals with Down Syndrome are dependent on others.

“I really hope that the synergy between organizations of Down Syndrome and the government itself can work well together,” he said.


The Martial Art Team of Down Syndrome in Yogyakarta city, along with Journalists from Warta Jogja taking a group photo together. (Photo by Hendro SB/Warta Jogja)

Local Wisdom of Martial Arts of Down Syndrome in the Special Region of Yogyakarta Province

The Martial Arts specifically designed for individuals with Down Syndrome is a series of simple martial movements with graceful and humble martial art stances. These movements incorporate artistic elements from the world of martial and consist only of a few basic repetitive motions, moving alternately to the right and left.

The Art of Martial for Down Syndrome also serves to stimulate the brain to remain actively engaged. Additionally, it is designed to train motor skills, sensitivity and synchronize the connection between feelings and movements for individuals with Down Syndrome.

The founding members of the Indonesian Down Syndrome Humanity Foundation (YIDSI) and also the Chairman of the Disability Communication Forum in Yogyakarta Province, Ludy Bima Sena explained that the introduction of Martial Art for Down Syndrome in the city of Yogyakarta can get more confidence in individuals with Down Syndrome to showcase themselves in front of the general public.

Ludy, who is also the Creator of Martial Art for Down Syndrome in the city of Yogyakarta emphasizes the desire to introduce them more to the general public in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and even globally. He aims to show that individuals with Down Syndrome have abilities equal to those without disabilities and can perform on stage just like anyone else.

“This is also a long journey, and it is not easy to build and train them,” said the man who also serves as the Chairman of the Committee for the Celebration of WDSD 2023.

Furthermore, as commonly known, individuals with Down Syndrome fall under the category of intellectual disabilities, which means that most of them can only be trained, and only a few can be educated. Therefore, regular training is necessary to continuously develop their skills, enabling them to perform at their best and forming a solid team in the Art of Martial.

Thus, Ludy views that his expectations so far have been successfully. Throughout the year 2022, the team from Martial Art for Down Syndrome has performed more than 20 times in various activities or events held in Yogyakarta.

“So, it aligns with what I have been hoping for all along. That individuals with Down Syndrome can confidently perform on stage and become more widely recognized by the public,” he stated.

The performance of the Martial Art for Down Syndrome team at the peak of the WDSD 2023 celebration provides a different kind of inspiration, especially in the post Covid-19 pandemic era. Therefore, Ludy hopes that their appearance in the WDSD 2023 celebration will make them more widely recognized, particularly in the Special Region of Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia and even internationally. (*)


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