Main content

  • Grant

    Empowerment Grant

  • Target Groups

    • People living with disabilities
    • Age-discriminated vulnerable groups, notably the young and the elderly

    Impact Themes

    • Improved Access to Social Services, Health and Education
  • Lead organisation

    Down Syndrome Care Foundation Indonesia (YAPESDI)

    Amount Funded

    25,000 EURO

    Project Duration

    01 Aug 2017 - 31 Mar 2018


  • Organisation

    The project Let’s Speak Up started out with a host organisation called HWDI (Indonesian Association of Women with Disabilities). HWDI is an association that was established on September 9, 1997 to gather, unite and empower women with disabilities across Indonesia to jointly advocate and fight for the rights of women with disabilities. In the course of project implementation it was decided to register the group separately as the project matured and evolved. Hence YAPESDI was born.

    Down Syndrome Care Foundation Indonesia (YAPESDI) is a non-profit foundation that is focused on the work of empowering youth and adults with Down Syndrome or any other Intellectual Disability and their families. YAPESDI vision is the realisation of a society which has a culture of being friendly, fair and sensitive to persons who live with Down syndrome or other persons with intellectual disability and their families.

  • Project

    In Indonesia, children with Down syndrome (DS) or more generally children with intellectual disabilities are almost never accepted by public schools, even by the so called inclusive public schools. This situation obviously does not enable children with DS to develop their cognitive skills and interact with the society at large. These children rarely have the opportunity to speak out and would not dare to do so anyway.

    This struggle to speak out is usually due to the way adults consider Down’s syndrome people. They (adults and sometimes parents) believe that Down’s syndrome people do not have the intellectual capacity to understand their situation/disabilities. This is why adults often prevent the DS persons’ voices to speak up or be heard: they dissuade questions or repress curiosity, believing that the children do not need to know or that it is better they do not know.

    To this day there is no peer group for people/children with Down’s syndrome in Indonesia.

    The aim of this pilot project is to start at the beginning and create a group of young Down syndrome persons who will over time become confident enough to express their current concerns in life, their difficulties, the social constraints, how they deal with them, and what their expectations for the future are. To achieve this, the youngsters will be guided/coached to increase their self-confidence and make them brave enough to speak up and express their feelings and opinions.

    Today 20 girls and boys with Down syndrome aged between 11 and 27 living in Jakarta have been identified in an informal group. HWDI ¬†gathers these youngsters on a regular basis and over time make them communicate with each other in a structural manner. The sessions favour a thematic approach with the group in order to facilitate the expression and explore the different aspects of the social life of Down’s syndrome youngsters. The topics that are covered include education, hobbies, friends, family (parents, siblings), emotional and romantic relationships, and projects. Parents are kept abreast of the developments of the programme and the topics discussed.

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