Today is the 21st of March and it’s World Down Syndrome Day. Today should be about thinking about each other, acting for the community and the individuals. World Down Syndrome Day now exists for 14 years. It was not coincidentally placed on the 21st of March. The number 21 symbolizes the characteristic of Down Syndrome which is the triple presence of the 21st chromosome. That’s why it is also called trisomy 21. It is important to know that Down Syndrome is not an illness. It is just a variation of the chromosomes that is happening randomly, just like the choice of gender.
People with a handicap are still a marginal group of our society. One problem is that there are too few touchpoints in our daily life. People are insecure because of the lack of knowledge. We are closely cooperating with two social workplaces. There, we received these touchpoints and we are so grateful for that. Recently, we got to know the wonderful female founder Sabine of the social start-up Mari & Anne. Mari & Anne is a start-up for natural cosmetics. Marina, Sabine’s sister is a really important member of the team. But we tell you more about these women later. Our meetings with our social partner workplaces as well as with Sabine made us recognize that we want to spread the topic into our society. That’s why we want to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with you today. We hope that this article is one new touch point for you.
Who is Sabine and who is Marina?
We already told you that Sabine is one of the founders of Mari & Anne and that this is a brand for natural cosmetics. Marina is the sister of Sabine and has one more chromosome than we all have. Together with her mom, Marianne, they have developed fantastic natural cosmetics like shea butter, lip balm, body or solid hair soap. All products only consist of few ingredients, like high-quality grape seed oil. The oil gets made out of waste material – the seeds of the grapes. Also, the oil comes from local production in Bavaria. Mari & Anne closely cooperate with workplaces for people with a handicap where the production and shipping is built up. We are in love with the start-up and their handmade products. That’s why we are happy we could speak to Sabine – about Marina, their little company and the Down Syndrome.
What are Marina’s favorite things to do?
Marina works in a workplace for people with a handicap and she loves to go to work – probably because she has a lot of friends there and for her, it somehow feels like a second home. She loves to go swimming, she loves to be with her family and her sister Sabine. At Mari & Anne, it is planned to open up the shipping department at the workplace where Marina is working. She is already totally looking forward to that.
What are the three chromosomes all about?
The three chromosomes make people have really high emotional intelligence. It is quite hard to describe this but Marina has an intuitive sense of how the others are feeling. Sabine says that Marina instantly knows how Sabine is doing – without talking about it. For a lot of people, it is rather dependent on how they are feeling. If they, for example, have a bad day, they are also not so sensitive to others. Marina is not like that at all, she takes herself back and is there for the other person – even if she maybe has a bad day.
Another aspect that distinguishes people with three chromosomes from others is their enormous joy of life. They are thankful for little things, things that for us are often normal in our hectic daily life. We asked Sabine for an example and she told us this little story: before starting Mari & Anne, Sabine several times asked her about her Christmas wishes – Marina then always said she wants a shampoo or shower gel and Sabine noticed with a grin: hey Marina, this I can buy you anyway. We are in love with this little example and think that we should all learn from that to be happier about little things – and we think that this already were hints for their future start-up for natural cosmetics;).
Of course, we don’t want to communicate that all is just always happy and easy. Sabine also mentioned that she was early taught by Marina what it means to stick together, to take care of each other, to be empathetic and to show solidarity. The Down Syndrome certainly also involves struggles and obstacles for the families, but isn’t our whole life all about accepting new circumstances and growing with them? So, it’s not all easy and good with a handicap but it’s also not all bad – like we mostly perceive it.
World Down Syndrome Day for more touch points with people with one more chromosome
For a lot of us, people with a handicap are quite abstract since we don’t have direct contact with these people. And most of the time we are looking at things we don’t know with respect or even fear. Thus, we would like to invite you to get in touch since you will quickly notice that through direct contact the handicap won’t be abstract anymore. You will learn more about it, it will become normal and you will lose insecurity. For us, the people at the social workplaces are normal parts of our company since they take care of the sewing of our logos and the packing and shipping of our products. For Sabine, Marina is just a part of the family, she’s a daughter, sister, an aunt and a young woman that enriches the life of others and makes it more happy and colorful.
In society, a lot needs to be changed and we need to reach inclusivity. Therefore, today is an important day and the communication of the topic is a way of integration and a start of change. It certainly is true: people with a handicap are still a marginal group of society. But not for everyone. Not for us and not for Mari & Anne – since they are part of our companies and make our products to what they are.
To change that for more people, to reduce insecurity and to create touching points with people with a handicap we asked Sabine to give us advice:
Advice of how to lose insecurity in contact with people with a Down Syndrome
Sabine mentioned that she can certainly understand insecurity. She for instance also quite long didn’t have touchpoints with other people with a handicap. Marina did not count for her, Marina was just her sister. She says that it is really hard to give advice and that you actually don’t need it. Just get in contact with the people since nothing bad can happen.
- However, one advice she shared with us is to be yourself since you will get accepted like this anyways. It doesn’t matter which outfit you are wearing, or how your hair looks. People will be curious to get to know you and will fully accept you the way you are – so no need to change.
- The second advice is to be open and just try it. You can start to incorporate this advice already in your daily life by smiling at others. Just smile at people and enjoy the reaction. Also smile at people that maybe at the first view seem a bit different than you are as it will work with all kinds of people and directly breaks the ice.
We think that this advice is really useful and we should be more like this anyways.
Today, we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and the wonderful label Mari & Anne certainly also celebrates it. They even have something for you: for all the next orders, they will give a strawberry lip balm for free on top. So, hop over to www.mariundanne.com and support this wonderful little family-run start-up. They also wrote an amazing blog article about World Down Syndrome Day which is also so worth reading! Thank you for sharing this topic with your beloved ones and Happy World Down Syndrome Day to all of you!