Steak evening at the Hamilton

The Down Syndrome Association Amathole provides support-orientated initiatives for young people living with Down syndrome, as well as awareness programmes for families and communities across the Border region.

However, without urgent help, it may be unable to operate in future.

The association was established in 1996 and has become an indispensable part of social development in the region.

Branch director Denise Taylor confirms “our current challenge is to keep operating as our funds are currently at an alltime low”. Being a community-based NPO, the association is not entitled to funding from the Social Development Fund.

It relies solely on donations, fundraising opportunities and sponsorships, however, challenges posed by the pandemic prohibited fundraising events in the last two to three years.

People living with Down syndrome face a number of accessibility challenges and most of these are fostered by unawareness about the measures schools, businesses and the public must institute in order to accommodate people with intellectual disabilities.

The association has played an important role in Buffalo City in terms of mediating this. It offers counselling to families of children born with Down syndrome, awareness training, workshops, early intervention programmes, WhatsApp support groups, outreach education programmes to clinics and hospitals, as well as selfadvocacy skills training sessions for young adults living with intellectual disabilities.

Families with children who have intellectual disabilities are often unable to access sufficient education as there are long waiting lists for admission to special schools, and mothers in the city report still being unable to access grants for their children. Despite a wide mandate of support services, the association is not staffed with a full contingent of helpers and relies on three part-time staff members and willing volunteers.

In terms of resources, the association is severely stretched. “We also offer workshops, have monthly support group meetings, dance classes and an outreach programme where funding is needed to make this happen as many of the parents are unemployed single parents and we need to provide transport for them to be able to attend these meetings,” Taylor said. If the association is unable to continue its work, it will affect vital support needed by families in the Border region including Qonce, Adelaide, Mthatha, Butterworth, Bizana and
Komani .

On July 1, the Down Syndrome Association Amathole will be hosting a steak evening at the Hamilton Club in a bid to raise funds. All the proceeds from the event will be used to further the advocacy and support work of the NPO.

Taylor encourages that tickets are bought in advance. With the funds from the event and others throughout the year, the association will be able to keep its doors open and hopefully raise enough to secure permanent premises for its operations and develop more employment opportunities for young people living with disabilities.

Tickets are being Pre-sold and the Contact details appearing on the poster:

For tickets : Denise 083 417 3949 / Linda 083 310 0398 / Mimette 082 354 4628 / Alta 082 452 8660 and Ina 083 218 1540.

COME TOGETHER: The Down Syndrome Amathole Association operates in Beacon Bay and runs a number of support and advocacy services for families who have children with intellectual disabilities. To continue their work they need urgent help from donors and support for their fundraising initiatives Picture: SUPPLIED


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