Society should encourage and inspire children with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that interrupts normal mental and physical growth, so that they can grow up well, concluded speakers at an event marking World Down Syndrome Day.
"There was a time when society deprived children with Down syndrome of their fundamental rights and neglected them in many ways. Now, the situation has changed," said Mahbubul Munir, secretary-general of the Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled Bangladesh, also known as SWID Bangladesh.
"We request all people to inspire and encourage these children. Please do not pity them [as these children deserve all the rights]," he added.
SWID Bangladesh and the Down syndrome Society of Bangladesh jointly organised the cultural event at the SWID Bangladesh Auditorium in the capital's Eskaton on Monday.
Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain, The Business Standard Executive Editor Sharier Khan, its Managing Editor Khaled Masood, and Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh Secretary-General Mezbah Uddin Sunny, among others, were present at the event.
Munir said their organisation SWID Bangladesh has been working for differently-abled children since 1978, and the number of its branches across the country has now reached 500.
"Children with Down syndrome do not create indiscipline in society; it is drug addicts who do that. Although some people have a negative attitude towards disabled people we should try to change that attitude," Tasmima Hossain said.
Lauding the contributions of SWID Bangladesh, TBS Executive Editor Sharier Khan said the organisation was helping thousands of children with Down syndrome receive proper care. "Many parents initially fail to understand the disorder and they panic," he said.
Urging to help and cooperate with these children and their families, Sharier said The Business Standard would continue its support to ensure a safe future for children with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a type of genetic disorder characterised by flattened faces, almond-shaped eyes, short necks, small ears, small hands and feet, and others abnormalities in children. An individual with Down syndrome has an extra chromosome.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are some 70 lakh children affected by the disorder worldwide, with some 2 lakh in Bangladesh.