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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pakistani organisation releases music video celebrating Down Syndrome children


KARACHI: As the World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated around the globe, Karachi Down Syndrome Project (KDSP) – a non-profit initiative that focuses on awareness and therapy pertaining to this genetic disorder – has launched a music video 'Aao Humaray Saath Chalo' aimed to spread knowledge and acceptance in the country.

Ali Hamza lends his voice to the song, which is penned by famed Urdu poet Zehra Nigah. The music video is directed by Amaan Ahmed.

In addition, various popular celebrities of the Pakistani entertainment industry, including Bushra Ansari, Sarwat Gilani, Javed Sheikh, Ahsan Khan, Momal Sheikh, Anoushey Ashraf, and Sheema Kermani, have shown their support for the cause and appeared in the video.

Watch the video at the end.

KDSP, which was founded six years ago by Ali and Parveen Allahwala, aims to create an all-inclusive society, wherein everyone is tolerant and accepted regardless of ability, gender, caste or creed. It was set up when the Allahwalas, following the birth of their daughter Aleha, were told that she had Down Syndrome, and couldn’t find any helpful or informative platform to better understand, and consequently, bring up their child.

Forced to travel abroad at that time in search of Down Syndrome-related institutes, the couple then brought to Karachi the required information and training strategies on their return and founded KDSP – a one-stop place for all solutions regarding the genetic disorder.

The parents had started with 15 families who came together to improve the quality of their children’s lives; they now have 200 families on board. Every year since 2014, KDSP has made efforts to widen the level of awareness for Down Syndrome via videos, songs, and photo shoots.

In line with its goals, the organisation works to help and guide people with chromosome 21 through physical, occupational, and speech therapy, expanding public space, improving the quality of life, arts and crafts and yoga classes, and a push for welcoming these children in all schools.

Speaking to geo.tv, KDSP's Hamidah Walli said that while the institute works for both children and adults having the Down Syndrome, its present plans comprise a collaboration with the UK’s Down Syndrome Education International for discussions and workshops geared towards teachers of various schools in Karachi.

“Mainstream schools don’t accept children with Down Syndrome. Last year, when we had six schools, we conducted a training session for teachers on inclusivity. This time around, we have 15 schools,” Walli stated.

The executive, who is the Allahwalas’ classmate and has a one-year-old kid with Down Syndrome, added that early intervention is a crucial factor in brain development of these children, since the first three years after birth are very important for every child.

“My own kid could not have been where he is if not for KDSP’s help,” Walli noted.

To understand how imperative it is for such an initiative to exist in Pakistan, statistics suggest that one of every 700 children born has Down Syndrome, Walli mentioned.

It is in this context that KDSP has also joined hands with the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) to set up a central clinic targeted at medical solutions for people with Down Syndrome.

“Some issues need to be ruled out at the start; these are related to heart, lung, and thyroid. Since there was no health institute offering such programmes, we will be launching ours on April 1, 2017.”


Courtesy: Geo News

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