Girls with Down Syndrome take part in a fashion show in Damascus, Syria, on March 29, 2019. Around 50 young people with Down Syndrome enjoyed their own fashion show on Friday evening in Syria's capital Damascus. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
by Hummam Sheikh Ali
DAMASCUS, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Around 50 young people with Down Syndrome enjoyed their own fashion show on Friday evening in Syria's capital Damascus.
Held in Damascus overnight, the fashion show was enjoyable for the participants, whose ages ranged from nine to 26 years old.
Glamorous lights, sweet perfumes, laughs and beautiful dresses filled the hall where the event was held. The young people, with incredibly positive energy, filled the place with warmth and peace.
After two months in preparation, the event was held by Ataa voluntary team, which aims to spread the benefits of volunteer work and send a message that people with Down Syndrome are equal in the society.
Lujain Asaad, one of the organizers, told Xinhua that the event was the first of its kind in Syria, adding that several local associations as well as artists and models helped to make this event.
"Along with a number of designers, our goal is to spread awareness that we are all equal and these children can do a fashion show and attend the same schools," she said.
In the backstage, the kids were preparing their outfits with the help of dressers and professional models that would walk with them during the show.
Wearing a long green dress, Dania Haffar, one of the models, told Xinhua that she was excited to be part of the show as she would accompany a girl with Down Syndrome.
"I am one of the models that will walk with a child with Down Syndrome during the show. I have a spontaneous feeling when I am with them," Haffar said.
Zeina Halal, fashion designer, told Xinhua that people with Down Syndrome should be called as "love syndrome" because their energy is so contagiously positive.
"My participation was very good and I called these kids love syndrome because they gave us energy and love," she said.
"We thought that we would have difficulty in dealing with them, but on the contrary, it was easy," Halal added.
The families of the participants attended the show, who were happy to see the children demonstrating that they can play a role in the society and that they shouldn't be isolated.
Ruwaida Helwani, mother of one of the participants, told Xinhua that holding the fashion show helps these people build self-confidence and feel that they are part of the community.
She said that the mental health of her son has been improved, wishing that more similar events could be held soon for people with Down Syndrome.
Hana al-Aghawani, another mother, expressed her gratitude for the organizers.
"I am so happy ... and it's a very positive initiative to have these kids take part in such a show and to express themselves," al-Aghawani said.
She agreed that holding events with the participation of the Down Syndrome people would help them enjoy a better quality of life.
"These kinds of activities boost the self-confidence of the children and tell them that they can do anything like anyone else," she added.