21 Faces is the Down Syndrome Centres annual campaign to celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of children with Down syndrome while also aiming to challenge some of the misconceptions about Down syndrome along the way.
21 Faces which is now in its third year, is about inviting the viewer to look past Down syndrome and to see the child, to see the individual and their potential – to take a second look!
It is often easy to recognise that a person has Down syndrome, but people with Down syndrome are not a homogenous group – they have the same extra chromosome but it does not define them – they are as unique and diverse as the rest of us!
We are following through on our commitment and plan to follow, celebrate and record the development and progress of the children featured over a number of years under the 21 Faces banner. 21 Faces also includes testimonials from the “champions” that support the children – be it a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, practitioner or Special Needs Assistant.
As well as celebrating the children’s development, 21 Faces also aims to personalise the discussion about Down syndrome and make a connection with people. By reading the children’s stories, viewing their family photos and getting a glimpse of their personalities and an insight into their daily lives, we hope to challenge some pre-conceived ideas about Down syndrome and to encourage the viewer to see the children for themselves and as children first and foremost.
Viewed in isolation we believe these images have the power to challenge some of the misconceptions surrounding Down syndrome. When viewed as a collection, we believe they have the power to transcend them!
Over the last year the children in 21 Faces have continued to amaze and inspire. We’ve had children performing on stage, passing exams, learning to type, winning awards for creative writing, Irish speaking and sports, speaking another language on holidays, modelling in a fashion photoshoot and acing their first year in primary school!
Many of the younger children have been working extremely hard to prepare for Montessori and ‘Big School’ – working on their handwriting skills, reading skills, learning to concentrate and listen and working on strengthening their core and posture while sitting at a desk.
There have been huge celebrations in several households when first steps have been taken and new milestones have been reached.
This year many of the testimonials have been written by members of the children’s extended families and are fitting tributes to the contribution and positive impact the children make within their families and wider communities.
To paraphrase one of the Mum’s – these children are more than just cute pictures on a poster – they have a valuable role to play in society and have so much to offer, provided they are given the right opportunities and supports to thrive.
21 Faces is proudly supported by Dunnes Stores who will display a 21 Faces photo exhibition in Cornelscourt Shopping Centre and 21 Faces posters in several of their locations around Dublin city centre from mid- July.
The campaign is also supported by an in-bus poster campaign by Dublin Bus and an outdoor poster campaign by Irish Poster Advertising around Dublin City Centre – all happening from mid-July.
The Down Syndrome Centre, based in Cabinteely, Co. Dublin, opened in 2014 with the aim of addressing the increased cuts and lack of accessibility to relevant services for children with Down syndrome. Our mission is to provide services and facilities to enable children with Down syndrome to have the same opportunities in life as their peers, to feel included in society and to enable them to reach their full potential.
We now support over 200 families per week by providing a wide range of early intervention services including SKIP (Special Kids Intervention Programme) and Team 21 Tots and vital services such as Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy.
Our vision was also to create a family focused centre for parents of the children using the Service. The centre is a place for parents to meet, get information and advice, make friends and build support networks and communities.
Our core ethos embraces Positivity – to create a brighter future where children with Down syndrome are ‘Able2’ reach their full potential and live as independent and fulfilling lives as possible.
The model has been so successful that two new centres have opened under The Down Syndrome Centre umbrella in 2017 – The Down Syndrome Centre, Cork and The Down Syndrome Centre, Midlands and a third centre, The Down Syndrome Centre North East is underway.
100% of our funding comes through fundraising.
If you would like to support the work we do at The Down Syndrome Centre, please click on the button below to make a donation
or Text DSC to 50300 to Donate €4
100% of your donation goes to The Down Syndrome Centre across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT which means that a minimum of €3.25 will go to The Down Syndrome Centre. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY, Helpline 01 443 3890
We would like to say a huge thank you to Dunnes Stores for supporting the campaign in such a big way and to Dublin Bus and Irish Poster Advertising for featuring our 21 Faces posters again this year. We would also like to thank RR Donnelley for designing the posters and creating a new look for the campaign and to photographer Conor Healy for the beautiful portrait photos he has taken again this year.