My name is Magdalena. I am a photographer and I have a sister with Down Syndrome. She is 38 and lives in Poland so this cause is very close to my heart.
Since I can only remember my mum ran a parent-let local non profit organisation supporting children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. I grew up attending groups and therapies with my sister and my mum. It was very educational for us. Since living in the UK I have missed being a part of that community. It is also very important for me to ensure that my daughters (age 9 &5) understand diversity, importance of inclusion and I want them to be naturally open minded.
The campaign – beginning
Last year, in Spring I photographed sweet little girl called Cara and it went on to inspire me to raise awareness and I decided that I wanted to do another photography session this year. When I came across Sparkles I instantly knew I want to give my support however possible.
To my surprise, 22 lovely families have contacted me to take part in this project!
Sparkles is a small, parent-led charity providing speech and language, physio and occupational therapy to pre-school children with Down’s syndrome living in and around Buckinghamshire.
This is Sparkles 20th anniversary year! It was started in 1999 by a small group of parents of children with DS who wanted to be able to offer their children more speech therapy than was available through NHS
It has since grown – Sparkles cover pre schoolers in and around Bucks and NW London, and in addition to weekly speech therapy, they offer termly physio and occupational therapy. All free at point of use, and does not compromise NHS support being received.
My plan is to produce from our photo sessions 21 beautiful portraits that can be used to raise Down Syndrome awareness through social media starting 1st March. I am planning to release one photo a day. The purpose of the campaign is to raise Down Syndrome awareness, break the barriers and educate society. People with Down Syndrome can achieve much more than most people can even imagine. The clue is the early education and extra support provided at the right time. Apart of raising awareness we are also hoping to raise money for a local charity organisation called “Sparkles”. Sparkles provide that extra push in enabling children and families in more opportunities to achieve their goals.
If you wish to donate Sparkles, you can do it now, please feel free to go to sparkles.org.uk
What help do we need to make this campaign successful?
- PR/ marketing specialist who would like to consult the project / guide us
- Sponsors to print our posters and display them in various places (offices etc) on Down Syndrome awareness week starting 18th March