While most people have two copies of chromosome 21, there are some that have three, known as Down syndrome or “trisomy 21”. We celebrate this magical extra chromosome and all the joy and loves that comes with it.

There is a dream inside the heart of every man, woman and child, to love and to be loved. Peace, love security and respect for human rights are the corner stones for human dignity and life, more so for persons with disabilities.

In South Africa, Down syndrome is the largest single cause of intellectual disabilities, affecting 1 in every 500 children born each year. Down syndrome is not a disease and is not contagious. It is a chromosomal disorder arising at conception. It is no one’s “fault”. It cannot be cured. Down syndrome causes delays in intellectual development, and also affects physical and cognitive development.

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

Coretta Scott King

People with Down syndrome don’t need our pity, they need our support.

  • Children born with Down syndrome can and do grow up to live long, happy and fulfilled lives.
  • They are like any other children, only differently-abled!
  • Many children are now even being integrated successfully into mainstream schools.
  • If given appropriate opportunities and support, people with Down syndrome are active members of society.
  • People with Down syndrome can thrive well into their fifties and beyond, facing and mastering many of the challenges we all encounter.
  • Many people with Down syndrome follow successful careers as actors, models, musicians, sportspeople, IT specialists and motivational speakers, and many are also disability activists in their communities.

21 years after the dawn of democracy South Africa still struggles to build a better society and improved quality of life for all who live in it.  While we continue to make steady progress in honouring our constitutional and international obligations in terms of the National Development Plan and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons with Down syndrome are still excluded from mainstream society and this adversely affects their rights and freedom.

The finalisation of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sends a beacon of hope and puts disability in the forefront but we all share a responsibility to work together to build tolerance of differences and wipe out ignorance by joining hands and supporting those, who are most left out! 

We work to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.


At The Down Syndrome Association Gauteng (TDSAG)) we know how even the smallest contribution can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. Daily we witness the miracles made possible by our donors, staff and the parents and communities of all our children born with Down syndrome or other disabilities.  

But above all, we witness and celebrate the miracles achieved everyday by our children!