9 Portraits of Youngsters with Down Syndrome
Let’s Speak Up
‘Overwhelmed and overwhelmingly satisfied’
After four sessions of intensive coaching on self-confidence, nine young students with Down Syndrome presented themselves to each other, their coaches and parents. They were confidently showing who they are and what they can happily do. The majority still have challenges speaking in correct and complete phrases; questions need to be asked in a simple fashion. Often they respond with one word, but responding they do! Most importantly, is that the group gained confidence and is happy to be part of a community and that is the best reward. – Coach Dewi Tjakrawinata
Adi, the pineapple jam maker.
Adi’s dream is to sell his pineapple jam. You can even order his tasty jam! He’s also now experimenting with baking muffins. He can very well be the only person with down syndrome who is attending public university at Bogor Agricultural University. The first time he attended class, he barely spoke a clear word. But now he has become more confident, this has improved a lot. He always stands by to help the other students.
Irfan, the djembe player.
Irfan is such a sweet student, who is always ready to help. He always cheers up his friends when they are sad by petting, gently calling and even massaging them. He always smiles sincerely. Even the teachers search for his face for strength if things get ‘difficult’ in class. Irfan is a good djembe player and often on stage at events. You can invite Irfan for your event! Always be a kind boy, Irfan!
Morgan, the chef patissier.
Morgan has held his first presentation in front of his classmates and parents. Self-advocator on the making and a big fan of Irsyad!
Irsyad, the swimming athlete.
Irsyad has every reason to be proud of himself with all his swimming medals. He won them in Los Angeles (USA), Australia and the latest even in Singapore. This shy and quiet boy, who smiles when you talk to him, is Morgan’s inspiration. Morgan just started swimming a few months ago and his swimming teacher always praises Irsyad and says: if you eat more you will be able to swim with more force, like Irsyad. Now Morgan meets his inspiration in the class. It’s a small world after all. Inspire more people, Irsyad. You are what you are.
Faiza, the bocce athlete and musician.
Faiza is the most mature student. She is multi-talented, smart, humble, and dreams about entertaining people with her keyboard. She is one of the D’Stars band members together with her friends. You can invite the band to your event! Faiza could become the leader in the intellectual disability movement in Indonesia. The road is long, but you can do it, Faiza!
Edo, the musician.
Edo is a keyboardist, the front-liner in D’Stars band and the most hilarious student in the class. Compared to his first day in class, he is not shy anymore. He regularly texts friends and family via WhatsApp, sending his music recording or just asking how they are doing. If you have any event, invite Edo and his friends and give them the chance to show off their skills. Keep practicing, Edo!
Afra, the hip hopper.
Afra is our supple hip hopper, although sometimes it looks like trance dance, just because she is so into it. She doesn’t know yet what she would like to become when she grows up. Afra is an expressive student and able to speak about her feelings with confidence. She confessed that her boyfriend just broke up with her, because his parents disagree with their relationship. But the boyfriend says he is the one being dumped.
The class is indeed different, but the students feel no shame on sharing their feeling and stories. But sometimes they say: pssttt… don’t tell my mom!
Defrey, the preacher.
Defrey is the student who never forgets to pray. He grabs every opportunity to pray for his mom in heaven. He even prays before receiving his allowance. Defrey is not really active in class, but he has the best memory of his friends’ names. If he starts talking, he can’t stop. He also understands English quite well. Unfortunately, he is quite a picky eater. He doesn’t want to taste any of the provided snacks, he only eats spaghetti or noodles.
Kimi, the singer.
Kimi is the youngest in class. She loves to sing, but what we want to become when she grows up, she does not yet know. She always helps her therapist by getting papers organised and she considers it as a job for which she needs to be well-paid. Her speaking skills are good; she sings clearly in English, even though she doesn’t understand the words. Be more confident, Kimi!