2nd Prize – Med Outstanding Project Award 2014/15 – “World Down Syndrome Day” of Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan, Egypt

Every year on the 21st of March, different organizations around the world celebrate the World Down Syndrome Day. It has been officially recognized by the United Nations to be on 21. March.

The day has been specifically chosen as it resembles the trisomy in the 21st chromosome, which is the definition of Down Syndrome.

Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan has been celebrating World Down Syndrome since 2009. Every year something new is added to the project. The main idea behind holding an event on World Down Syndrome Day is to raise awareness about the condition in the society.

Each year, a big event is organized where children with Down Syndrome and their families are invited to spend the day. The day is divided into two parts. The first part is for the children. A fun day with lots of activities and entertainment is organized for the children. They are divided into groups based on their age and participate in the different activities prepared by the members of Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan.

On the other hand, the second part of the day is dedicated to the parents. Each year we invite a speaker specialized in one of the topic that interests the parents of children with Down Syndrome. The main aim of the session is to educate the parents and provide them with new information that could help them improve their own lifestyle as well as their children’s and their families’.

This year, Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan decided to expand the scope of the project. Throughout the Rotary year, members of the club have been visiting Down Syndrome organizations around Alexandria and spending the day with the children there. In some organizations they attended the classes with the children and participated in the activities they do. The visits helped the members get closer to children with Down Syndrome and know how to deal with them better. It also helped in creating a strong bond between the members and the children which resulted in amazing friendships.

Another addition to the project this was the online awareness campaign. Throughout the year, regular posts have been created and shared over the World Down Syndrome official event page as well as the official page of Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan. The posts included awareness material, support as well as stories from families that have a member with Down Syndrome.

The online campaigns were very effective and helped us reach out to more people and let them know more about Down Syndrome. The campaign also helped us in raising funds for the event we held in March.