For the First Time Uganda Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

21 March, 2017

Uganda Group Photo

Global Livingston Institute Contact Information
Chris Callanan, +256(0) 785-919-576;

The Uganda Down’s Syndrome Association Contact Information
Michael Okiro, +256(0) 779-761-090;

Twitter: @listenthinkact

Kamapala, Uganda – On Tuesday 21 March 2017, advocates from across Uganda will join the world in celebrating World Down Syndrome Day. Events are taking place in Entebbe, Kampala and Kabale. Together we will help raise awareness about Down syndrome and how people with Down syndrome benefit our lives and communities.

In 2011, The United Nations General Assembly declared the 21st of March World Down Syndrome Day in recognition of the 3 copies of chromosome 21 that causes the condition. While World Down Syndrome Day has been recognized widely internationally, Uganda will participate formally for the first time this year!  Celebrations are taking place as part of a growing movement to better provide resources and support for persons with Down syndrome in Uganda.

On 6 October 2016 The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) announced a major joint initiative to map existing resources and services available to persons with Down syndrome, and their caretakers, living in Uganda.

This report has brought together a network of stakeholders to inform the findings. Collaborators are working together to inspire positive change for persons living with Down syndrome in Uganda. It is important to include a variety of perspectives: self-advocates, parents, caretakers, diplomats, medical professionals, civil society organizations, and government ministries; all united to better support persons with Down syndrome in Uganda.

“The Uganda Down Syndrome Association is pleased to have attracted the support of the Global Livingston institute and Global Down Syndrome Foundation in Uganda. We would like Uganda to become a Centre of Excellence for bringing services to people living with Down Syndrome. This is doable if we all put our hands and minds to it.” Michael Okiro-Emadit, Country Director, TUDSA

“The discrimination and lack of resources in Uganda can feel overwhelming sometimes, but I believe our approach is already changing lives for the better, which is something to celebrate!” said Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

“Collaborations like this are exactly what the Global Livingston Institute is all about”, said Jamie Van Leeuwen, Founder and CEO of the Global Livingston Institute. “We are excited to bring Global Down Syndrome and other important stakeholders to the table to improve the quality of life for countless individuals and their families in Uganda.”

To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, events will be held in Kampala, Kabale, and Entebbe. Activities will include charity walks, receptions, health clinics, resource guides, educational seminars, and official remarks and a press briefing, in Kampala.

Date/Time: Tuesday 21 March 2017; 11:00am-3:00pm
Location: Makerere University, Senate Building – Upper Conference Hall
Hosted by: Global Livingston Institute and the Uganda Down’s Syndrome Association
Contact: +256(0) 779-761-090 or +256(0) 785-919-576
11:00   Makerere University reception
11:30   Official remarks & press brief
13:00   Educational seminar
13:30   Concluding remarks

Date/Time: Friday 24 March 2017; 8:00am-5:00pm
Location: Mayors Garden Entebbe
Hosted by: EmbraceKulture
Contact: +256(0) 759-761-165 or +256(0) 752-686-429.
09:00   Walk/Fundraiser (Leisure Park – Mayors Garden)
10:00   Mayors Garden reception
10:30   Remarks
12:00   Health camp & entertainment
15:30   Concluding remarks

Date/Time: Tuesday March 21st, 2017; 1pm-5pm
Location: Rutinda, Lake Bunyonyi
Hosted by: Global Livingston Institute and Entusi Resort and Retreat Center
Contact: +256(0) 787-743-201 or +256(0) 777-660-098
13:00   Welcome & reception
13:30   Remarks
14:30   Educational seminar
13:30   Concluding remarks

About Global Livingston Institute (GLI):
The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is a community-based research institute developing strategic partnerships in both East Africa and in the United States with a focus on education and social impact. Modeled after the Aspen Institute, GLI creates a place at the table for students and community leaders to discuss innovative complex solutions to poverty. The organization is divided into two core areas of focus: Education (Listen. Think.) and Social Impact (Act.).

The GLI currently takes nearly 200 students and community leaders to East Africa each year for university study abroad trips, high school trips, leadership conferences, youth summits, research internships, and a number of other events. The organization also employs 19 Ugandans full time to manage our East African operations.

The Global Livingston Institute has two campuses; one in the Muyenga District of Kampala in Central Uganda and our main research center in Kabale in Southern Uganda (Entusi Resort and Retreat Center). The GLI is also operating research projects in northern Uganda and has public health and education contacts throughout the country. The GLI selected Uganda and Rwanda as both countries are eager to engage in research, education and job creation opportunities. Since 2009, the GLI has developed extensive networks with the public, private and nonprofit communities in both countries.

About Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global):
Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global supports two affiliates which together constitute the only academic home in the United States committed solely to research and medical care for people with Down syndrome – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Global also publishes Down Syndrome World, a national award-winning quarterly magazine. For more information, visit Follow Global Down Syndrome Foundation on Facebook & Twitter @GDSFoundation.

About the Uganda Down’s Syndrome Association (UDSA):
The Uganda Down Syndrome Association (UDSA) is a parent-led NGO which advocates for the rights of the people with Down syndrome in Uganda. UDSA was founded by Mr. Micheal Okiro – Emadit and his wife Joyce Achom with a number of 10 children in 2005 and it was officially registered by the Uganda Government as a Non-Governmental Organisation in October 2006. The association coordinates and facilitates access to specialized Health, Educational services and skills training with special emphasis on children with Down syndrome, 20 years and below. Their ultimate goal is to construct a centre with a Health and School facility to serve the Down syndrome community in Uganda so that they can live meaningful lives as adults.

About EmbraceKulture:
EmbraceKulture works to ensure all children in Uganda are embraced and accepted for what makes them unique. EmbraceKulture works in the community to develop awareness and quality education for children with development and/or cognitive disabilities, including autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy. Their approach focuses on empowering parents, teachers and persons with disabilities to become the agents of change. With a network of partners, they, establish parent support groups and community activism committees, foster inclusion through sports and school pairing programs, train teachers, parents and specialists and create innovative technology solutions to develop and distribute disability specific, locally relevant resource information.