Did you know that approximately one in 500 South African babies is born with Down syndrome? DS is also the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability.
While South Africa celebrated Human Rights Day on 21 March, the day also marks World Down Syndrome Day. This year South Africa’s favourite petroleum brand*, Engen decided to contribute to the cause.
In a perfect coincidence, Brownies&downieS a non-profit café that trains young adults with intellectual disabilities, is located across the street from the Engen head office in Cape Town. It is an open secret amongst frequent patrons that Brownies&downieS make the best brownies in the city.
To support their neighbours on this special day, Engen presented Browsnies&downieS with a R10 000 donation, which will be used to help train young adults with Down syndrome, Foetal Alcohol syndrome, learning disabilities, and autism at the café.
Engen Managing Director and CEO, Yusa’ Hassan marked the occasion by showing up at the café in person to meet some of the trainees and show off his crazy socks, in support of World Down Syndrome Day.
Managing Director of Brownies&downieS, Wade Schultz is grateful for Engen’s generous support! “The donation will assist us to train these young adults and ready them for workplace employment. Our goal is for people with intellectual disabilities to be given more independence and acceptance through employment opportunities and specialised training,” says Schultz.
Engen’s Head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Unathi Magida says the company prides itself on its compassion, especially for marginalized groups, and remains wholeheartedly committed to supporting people with disabilities. “Seeing young people gain relevant work experience, life skills, and hopefully permanent jobs and independence proves that disability is not inability, and we are humbled to be able to contribute to this process,” adds Magida.
Why crazy socks?
Explains Schultz: “Nobody knows when Crazy Sock Day first started, but when someone is seen wearing crazy socks, they might be asked why. It is an odd thing after all. This creates the perfect opportunity to open a discussion about Down syndrome with that person, and sow the seeds of acceptance.”
And the reason World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on the 21st day of the third month? “This is to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down syndrome,” adds Schultz.
For more from Brownies&downieS keep an eye out for the TV series “Life begins after Coffee”, which debuts on 6 April on SABC 2, and features life at this unique and inspiring café.