“We don’t want pity or sympathy; we want recognition”

Young people with Down Syndrome have stated that they do not want to be the face of charity boxes where people feel sorry for them and make donations to charity. In a seminar themed ‘Youth Opinion Counts’, these young people called for society to become more aware of their skills while expressing their desire to take part in programs on the national station.

The participation of people with Down Syndrome in society came under the spotlight during a seminar organized by the Ministry in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The President of the Down Syndrome Association, Joanne Xerri, appealed to society to show regard for the skills of people with disabilities by giving them an opportunity to participate in programs on the national station.

“Firstly, we don’t want to constantly use people with disabilities to elicit sympathy or to raise money. People with disabilities should be on display to show that they are worth and to showcase their abilities. Not to be pitied and deleted. ”

At the seminar, young people were given the opportunity to ask questions about entities that are part of the ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister including the Public Broadcasting, the Department of Industrial Relations, the European Services Agency and the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development.

“These meetings are very important because through them, we young people and organizations, have our voices heard – i.e. our wishes and interests not only with regard to the youth sector but other sectors allowing us to air our views about what we want to see in the country – i.e. transforming words into reality.”

Aaliyah Bonello, a member of the Salesian Community in Senglea, said: “I see these meetings as important because the opinion of young people is heard and we are also making our voices heard. In Senglea I want to see more places where we young people can go and feel that we are among other young people.

While replying to the questions from youths, Minister Carmelo Abela said that youngsters have an important role in the society and their proposals should be listened to and drawn up by Government for the good of the country.

“We talk about ideas and thoughts. We will not always agree but ultimately we will make decisions that are important for today and are even more important for tomorrow, where young people will certainly be impacted because I firmly believe that they are the present but of course they will be hit hardest in the future. ”

Minister Abela appealed to youths to be the agents of change in the country.