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World Down Syndrome Day

HighlightsWorld Down Syndrome Day

Photo: Students and staff of Stella Maris wearing their most colorful socks

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 21, 2024

Belize joins the rest of the countries around the world in recognizing World Down Syndrome Day which is celebrated annually on March 21, with this year’s theme being, “End the Stereotypes”.

In December 2011, the United Nations (UN) declared the day on March 21 to represent the uniqueness of Down Syndrome caused by triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome.

According to information from the UN, with approximately 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder each year.

In recognizing World Down Syndrome Day, the Lots of Socks campaign, with people wearing their most colorful socks or mismatching socks, was launched to be in solidarity with those who have Down Syndrome, and to spread awareness.

This morning, Stella Maris School – a school that has catered to students with special needs since 1958 – held a small parade with its students and teachers in honor of the day and the campaign.

“It’s not only us this year. I’ve noticed that different schools have embarked on it this year, St. Joseph’s School, I believe St. Ignatius School, so the awareness is out there,” said Sherry Salgado, a teacher at Stella Maris.

“These students are persons with Down Syndrome. [They] seem different, but I always say these, these persons were born with extra chromosomes and also extra love in their heart; and I say that they have been blessed with extra moves. If you remember, we had a student who used to be on Albert Street; he had extra love in his heart as well; so, these students, they’re love,” she added.

Salgado noted that, regardless of their special needs, no child should be left behind. “Regardless of their disability, no child should be left behind; so, we need to give these students a chance, even if it’s in inclusion, you know, so it’s very important.”

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