Today is the day!!

World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March

#WorldDownSyndromeDay 2020 is already underway in the Line Islands of Kiribati. Thanks to the wonder of time zones, somewhere in the world will be celebrating #WDSD20 for a whole 50 hours! The day will finally come to an end at midnight in Baker Island.

50 hours – Let’s do this!

There are plenty of ways that you can get involved:

  • First and foremost, get your #LotsOfSocks on. Get the world talking about Down syndrome by wearing our official #LotsOfSocks or your own bright socks, mismatched socks, extra socks… SOCKS!!
  • Share the message #WeDecide – our social media pages are full of “We Decide” messages from people with Down syndrome. Share these messages with your friends and add your own too.
  • Watch and share the videos in the #WDSD20 video project on DownTV – you can add your own video here too.
  • Watch the World Down Syndrome Day @ United Nations virtual event to learn about inclusive participation from people with Down syndrome and experts in the field
  • Find an event in your area on our World Events page – please check before you go as some events have been cancelled at short notice due to Covid-19
  • If you are able to, please give what you can to support a Down syndrome organisation so that they may continue important work to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome around the world. Find out how on our Fundraising page.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today, we hope you have a great day!

Please share your photos with us on social media – @WorldDSDay

World Down Syndrome Day @ United Nations 2020 – Virtual Event

Advert for virtual conference

Go to the WDSD @ United Nations Virtual Event 2020 page on the DSi website.

Following the cancellation of our upcoming World Down Syndrome day conference in New York and side event in Geneva, we bring you the World Down Syndrome Day @ United Nations 2020 virtual event!

We have a set of fantastic speakers originally due to speak in New York and Geneva…many of them people with Down syndrome or intellectual disability…who have valuable knowledge, insight and experience around the topic of inclusive participation.

We have asked our speakers to produce statements based on their planned talks and we are planning to make these available in video and written formats in time for the original event dates of 20th March 2020.

These statements will be available to view in 2 ways:

  1. Facebook Watch Parties – if you would like to watch our videos at the time of the events in a fully interactive way with the ability to comment and have conversations with others, this is the choice for you! Sign up to our World Down Syndrome Day @ United Nations 2020 Facebook Event to receive more information and reminders about when to participate.
  2. Dedicated DSi website event area – We will be launching a new section of the Down Syndrome International website dedicated to posts for this virtual event. Here you will find the videos, together with biography information on the speakers and programme information from the events in New York and Geneva. You will be able to comment on posts and get all the information you need here.

We are really excited to make a success of this virtual event. DSi, our sponsors, speakers and delegates all regret not being able to take part in New York and Geneva in person. But here is an opportunity to hear from our amazing speakers and all be part of the conversation!

We look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible.

Down Syndrome International

Show the world how you are raising awareness in 2020

Event poster

We love to see the different ways that WDSD is marked around the globe. From fabulous parties to enlightening lectures, from #LotsOfSocks school days to hair-raising challenges. The ways that you choose to raise awareness are truly inspiring and we thank every one of you for raising your voice.

Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

If you are planning an activity or an event for WDSD 2020 please take a few minutes to share it on our World Events page. Your plans may offer inspiration to others or you may find unexpected sources of support from those around you who wish to help.

Don’t forget, our resources pack is full of useful bits to help you. There are logos you can use, awareness flyers you can display, resources for planning events and speaking about Down syndrome, and plenty more. You can request a resources pack here.

Whatever you are doing, have a fantastic WDSD!!

Have your say at United Nations, Geneva

Panel at Geneva event

Since 2017, each year Down Syndrome International have organised a World Down Syndrome Day event at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. 

The event is both a celebration of World Down Syndrome Day and a chance for self-advocates with Down syndrome to speak up to members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, government officials, and civil society representatives.

In 2019 the theme was “Leave No One Behind in employment” – we heard from self-advocates with Down syndrome about their right to employment. A recurring message from self-advocates was that they want to work. Those with jobs all enjoyed working and were successful in their jobs. Self-advocates spoke strongly about their right to work and to have a decent job with fair working conditions.

For 2020 the theme is “We Decide”. If you have Down syndrome, perhaps you would like to present at the 2020 event.

Here are some ideas for what you could present about:

  • Times and places that you make decisions
  • Important decisions that you make in your life
  • Why is it important for you to make your own decisions
  • Support you need to make good decisions

Read more and register to attend on the event page – Geneva 2020

Lights, Camera, Action!!

DownTV video still

This World Down Syndrome Day why not make a video to share with the world.

People LOVE videos. FACT!

According to Facebook generates 8 billion video views every day and YouTube reports that video consumption rises by 100% every year!

What should I make a video about?

Absolutely anything that you like!

Here are some ideas from videos we have enjoyed before:

  • Tell the world about your life – what do you do on a typical day? where do you study or work? what do you like to do?
  • Show us something you love to do – are you a dancer? do you love sport? are you an artist?
  • Talk about your hopes and dreams;
  • You might like to talk about the theme for WDSD 2020, “We Decide” – what does decision making mean to you? 

When you have completed your video, upload it your favourite platform using the hashtag #WorldDownSyndromeDay THEN make sure you take the extra step to upload it to DOWN TV – World Down Syndrome Day

If you need a little more inspiration, you can also watch lots of videos from previous years on Down TV

For more information, take a look at the #WDSD20 video project

Feedback from self-advocates on WDSD theme

DSi asked its Committee of National Representatives with Down Syndrome for feedback on the World Down Syndrome Day theme ‘We Decide’.

Here’s some of their feedback and suggestions:

Kayla McKeon, USA

There are people out there who have misconceptions about us, the more we show what we are capable of doing the more people will understand that we can and should make our decisions about our own lives. In the USA there is a saying “Nothing about us without us”.

Michael Sullivan, Australia

Michael collected feedback from Down Syndrome Australia’s Down Syndrome Advisory Network. This network is a group of people with Down syndrome from across Australia who provide direct advice to the Down Syndrome Australia board. They said:

  • This is a good theme all individuals have their own voice, people with Down syndrome lead fulfilling lives and are involved in advocacy campaigns. Sometimes we might need a hand when making bigger decisions. We are able to make decisions and know there is support there if needed for bigger ones
  • Agree it’s a good theme cause it’s empowering. It’s good to educate people to help make our own decisions and not tell us what to do. I want the world to know that I am able to make my own decisions
  • This is a good theme as I want to be able to make my own decisions. I can make small decisions on my own and sometimes may need help.  I want to have an opportunity to make my own decisions. It was my decision to grow a beard and my family told me I look like a homeless cat – good to have money support
  • I like to make my own decisions don’t like other people making them for him
  • I like making my own decisions
  • Good to make each day count and decide each day what you are doing and have a good diary system. Always have respect and need to know when to ask for help

Sheri Brynard, South Africa

I would like to add the responsibilities that goes with rights. We have to be able to understand more about the effect of what we choose. I choose my clothes but I have to understand my body. I can choose my boyfriend but I have to understand relationships.

Ashish Joshi, Nepal

The world needs to know that we can make own decisions and choose what to do. I choose to work spent some time doing support staff job, now looking for another type. Once you can prove your decision, it builds confidence in you and other people also start to believe in you.

Janet Charchuck, Canada

I like the theme of making your own decisions. Everyone has a right to make their decisions about their life. OR they should be able to get help if they need to.. like in supported decision making.

George Okudi, Uganda

I agree with this somehow, maybe the problem will be how other people perceive it. People should not take it like we are being forceful.

Jaime Cruz, Peru

I agree with the theme taking our own decisions. Perú has approved a legal change and people with disabilities are now allowed to take their own decisions with the supports they may need.

Harley bags dream job after speaking at Geneva


Harley Jolley, from Cornwall, England, is proving just how valuable people with Down syndrome can be in a workforce.

For a long time Harley has dreamed of working for the police. When Harley came to speak at the WDSD event in Geneva, little did he or his family and friends realise just how far that speech would take him.

On 21 March 2019, Harley and his friend Francesca from Cornwall Accessible Activities Program (CAAP) travelled to Geneva to speak at DSi’s WDSD event at the United Nations, advocating for the rights of people with Down syndrome to employment.

In his speech, Harley said that his dream was to work with the Police. Helen Leverty, a Learning Disability Nurse Lecturer who also attended the Geneva event, tweeted about it. Shortly after, the Deputy Chief Constable of  Devon and Cornwall Police re-tweeted that he was interested in making Harley’s dream come true.

Harley and his mum, Patricia, were put in touch with Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit team who arranged training about Down syndrome for the police force and also set up an internship for Harley. 

In October, Harley was given a tour of his local police station and measured up for his uniform. He started work the very next week. Harley works alongside Dave and Karen who have said Harley is doing an amazing job. He is surpassing everything that WorkFit told them he would do.

Patricia Jolley said, “It’s working so well and we are hoping there will be paid work at the end if all works out.”

Huge congratulations to Harley!!

If you would like to attend the next WDSD event in Geneva you can register on the event page

WDSD 2020 theme announced

Down Syndrome International (DSi) are delighted to announce the theme for WDSD 2020, “We Decide”.

Each year DSi presents a “Call to action” for WDSD which is integrated into all of DSi’s WDSD activities. We encourage everyone around the world to do the same.

The theme for 2020, “We Decide” is inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which supports effective and meaningful participation as a core human right.

All people with Down syndrome should have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives.

– Down Syndrome International

Though our WDSD 2020 activities we hope to empower people with Down syndrome to advocate for effective and meaningful participation so that they may reach out to key stakeholders to disseminate this message to bring about change.

Read more and learn how you can get involved on the Call to Action 2020 event page