Young people with Down Syndrome serve in a coffee shop during a festival held in Damascus on Aug. 6, 2019. Young Syrians with Down Syndrome are taking part in a month-long festival in Damascus, running their own coffee shop. The activity is part of an initiative by the Juzour Association, a local charitable organization that runs several humanitarian projects, one of which is organizing events for people with Down Syndrome. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)
DAMASCUS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Young Syrians with Down Syndrome are taking part in a month-long festival in Damascus, running their own coffee shop.
The activity is part of an initiative by the Juzour Association, a local charitable organization that runs several humanitarian projects, one of which is organizing events for people with Down Syndrome.
The young men and women now serve in a coffee shop called Succet, the organizers of which hope to see the light on a wider scale beyond a festival.
At the sprawling Tishreen Park in Damascus, many youths with the Down Syndrome wear uniforms. Some are serving between the tables while others are standing behind a bar preparing juice and coffee.
The happiness is seen on their faces as they talk with other people while enjoying a break time singing and dancing with their family members sitting nearby.
They receive help from volunteers of the organization to do their job in the best way.
Such an activity aims to help these youths to integrate into the society, which is not familiar with them.
Muhannad, 26, told Xinhua that he usually stays indoors with nothing to do.
He said that he is happy now because he can do something that could fill his time and help him meet people outside his family circle.
"I was staying at home without doing anything but here I get to work to host and serve coffee and tea ... I am happy with my friends here," Muhannad said.
His friend, Aya, wears a beautiful smile all the time during the work time.
"I can make cappuccino and juice and I am so happy," she told Xinhua.
Aya said that she likes drawing and dreams to be an artist on day.
Kholoud Rajab, chairman of the board of directors of the Juzour Association, told Xinhua that the aim of their association is to break the stereotype of feeling sorry to the people with Down Syndrome and help them enter into an era where they are embedded in the society and can take their full rights.
"We could give these people their full rights ... to get proper education and an opportunity to express themselves. We shall develop the tools so that they could achieve success in life," she said.
Her assistant, Saleh al-Isamel, the executive director of the Juzour Association, told Xinhua that the organization has a long-distant plan to help the people with Down Syndrome.
"As an association, we are working on the long run on a distant plan, which aims to update a cafe work within a festival to a permanent cafe in Damascus as a first step so that we can generalize this idea in other Syrian cities," he said.
He added that financial support is what they need to help their work.
"We are currently faced with many obstacles because we need financial support so that the bigger vision of this project could see the light," al-Isamel told Xinhua.