Down Syndrome International
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The Bachooa sisters from Mauritius

Farzana with her sister Ferozia

My name is Farzana Bachooa and I am 42 years old. My parents passed away when I was younger and I have been living with my sister Ferozia for as long as i can remember. Ferozia lives with her husband Jaffar and her two children – Zahra and Sheeraad.

When I was a child, people used to make fun of me because i had Down syndrome. My parents kept me indoors for me not to get hurt. I attended a segregated school until I reached 16 but then had to stop when my mother got sick with cancer and could no longer attend to my everyday needs. I stayed at home, helping my parents who were getting old with the chores. I did not have a lot of friends growing up.

Because so many things happened, Ferozia decided to make a change for other children in my situation. She joined the education system and made a name for herself as a Disability Rights Activist. She advocated for the rights of those like me in Mauritius. She made sure that no one ever made fun of me again. She took me in with her when my father got sick and she, and her husband and children, have been looking after me ever since.

Farzana decorating for the festive season

Farzana decorating for the festive season

Years later, Ferozia and Zahra founded the Youth with Disabilities Empowerment Platform for me. This association caters for the rights and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Mauritius. Through this association, I made a lot of friends and I have a lot of fun going out and meeting new people. As I love to dance and sing, they make sure to organise fun events and activities. They made sure that the association is a fully inclusive one, so as to promote the acceptance and inclusion of all types of persons with disabilities in my community.

The association also provide classes and courses for those like me who did not have access to education. I attend an Entrepreneurship course and a Bakery and Pastry course. Today, I know how to cook, bake and make decorative items.

I have never been happier and I could not think of any better place to be getting old, than this family!

Farzana learning to bake

Farzana learning to bake

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