Imagine a child knocking on a door and being let in by a smiling family or friend.  That’s the scene from a moving film presented by the charity Down Syndrome Education International, featuring children from dozens of countries including the UK and Ukraine.
I watch the film with a roomful of guests at a World Down Syndrome Day reception I’m hosting at the residence alongside the Director of the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation Serhiy Kuryanov and the President of Down Syndrome Education International, Frank Buckley.  There’s lively media interest with a clutch of TV crews eager to know why we are supporting this cause.  I point out that studies show how the more education and advice children with Down Syndrome and their families get early on, the better the children are able to integrate, and to develop skills such as reading and writing, as they grow older.
The UK has a long tradition of supporting families caring for children with Down Syndrome.  UK charities support teachers, therapists, researchers, families and organisations in the UK and over 180 other countries.  As for Ukraine, Down Syndrome Education International and Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation have plans to reach out to more than 10,000 people living with Down Syndrome across Ukraine over the next 3 years.  I’m grateful to the two charities and to everyone who attended for helping draw attention to this important issue and for raising a significant amount of money for charity.   


Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

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