Saturday, December 27, 2014

International Day of People With Disability

Hi Family Flavours family,

Did you know that December 3, 2014, was the International Day of People With Disability (IDPwD)?

This month, I had the chance to sit down with members of the Jasmine Society for Children With Down Syndrome’s Forum for Young Adults. The Forum, a relatively new programme started by the Society, aims to develop the abilities of young adults with Down Syndrome through educational, awareness, athletic, and entertainment activities.

The Forum meets Sunday through Thursday from nine to one o’clock, and each day features different activities geared towards promoting the development of different skills.  Led by Linda Imad Al-Din Jaber, a special education teacher with almost two decades of experience in the field and across the Middle East, the Forum’s daily attendance fluctuates somewhat, but Yara (28) and Samar (17), along with Osama (21) and a few others, are all regulars.

During our conversation, we chat about music, which holds a special significance for many of my companions. With characteristic eloquence and joy, Samar describes music as part of her dreams and part of her identity. But, she doesn’t think she’d want to be a singer. “I’d be a singer!” Osama exclaims, which surprises Jaber at first, perhaps given Osama’s quiet nature. But then on second thought, she agrees he has a very nice voice. Osama smiles quietly, perhaps imagining himself onstage someday.

Inclusive education and accessible employment are two of the major issues that all people with disabilities face in Jordan, and there are numerous social and infrastructural barriers to achieving this goal. A comprehensive legislative framework exists in Jordan to try and secure these rights, but the gap between the law and its successful implementation remains substantial. 

While The Jasmine Society is focused on early intervention and securing both the readiness of children with Down Syndrome to enter mainstream schooling as well as their right to do so, the Forum emerged out of the need to address the educational, emotional and psychological needs of their older members. It is a place, one of too few, where people with Down Syndrome are appreciated as individuals with personalities, talents and potential.

To read this article in full, please go to

For more information on the Society, check out their facebook page @ 

For more information on the rights of people with disabilities in Jordan, check out the Higher Council For Affairs Of Persons With Disabilities (HCD) @

To learn more about the IDPwD visit 

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