Johannes from South Africa
I am Johannes. I live in South Africa
Inclusion means that I can have a job with a salary at the University of Pretoria.
I have colleagues and friends at work and in the community where I live.
It meant that I had to start by going to an ordinary playgroup, nursery school, primary school and high school. There I made friends and learnt many subjects.
I needed help and had to work hard but I learned to be independent and responsible.
Many children with disabilities in South Africa still struggle to be accepted at the school in their neighbourhood. That is a pity because we also want to belong and attend school with our brothers and sisters.
I also have a small role in a daily sitcom on national TV. When I go to the shopping centre people recognise me and ask me for a selfie or for my autograph.
My role on TV has changed people’s attitudes towards people with disabilities.
I think more people with Down syndrome should find jobs in the open labour market.
I am respected at my work and have a special role to play. I inspire parents of babies that come to the University’s speech clinic for therapy. When they see me doing my job there, they feel hopeful for the future of their own children.
Inclusion is a right, not a favour. I believe in real work for real pay.
The best way to promote awareness of Down syndrome is for people with Down syndrome to share their own stories in their own words.
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