My name is Katya, I am 18 years old. I live in the large and friendly family with many children in Kherson city. July 12, 2012, a little sun appeared in our family. Artem has trisomy 21. Put simply, I have a brother with Down syndrome. For me, he is not sick, he is special!
Artem loves playing and walking in the street as all the "normal" kids. He likes cars and balls and big stuffed toys most of all.
Our mother has five children, three older and two younger. She also has a granddaughter. We often sit together with the children to paint, sculpt, paint, glue.
Artem loves dancing. He switches on some beautiful music and you cannot stop him...
My brother also studies music. Doctors should not say that such kids cannot do anything. Artem walks, falls asleep, eats by himself. My little sun does the exercises every morning.
The neighbors changed their opinion about the children with Down syndrome as soon as they saw our Artem.
I like the phrase of one girl: "I wish people removed their rusty locks!" I totally agree with her.
I love Artem very much, he charges me with positive and warm energy. He's incredibly kind person. When you are looking at him and his warm smile, you cannot but smile back at him.
Two years ago, my mom and moms of the entire Kherson region united and founded the organization "Sunny Children of Kherson Region." Our organization is very young but we are already known in many cities of Ukraine.
Many say that a child with Down syndrome is born to older people or if he/she is the first child. But we are destroying this myth. In our organization, there are young moms and moms of older age. There are families in which a sunny child is the second, third or fifth child.
There is also a myth that sunny children are unteachable. It’s not true! They can be taught if you work with them. There is a boy in our organization, who knows the English language.
Another myth is that the children with Down syndrome are born only to people who abuse alcohol, tobacco and drugs. It’s not true! Many moms are absolutely healthy.
"Normal" kids get on well with Artem. They chat, make friends, play. In general, Artem is very sociable and positive kid. I love all children in the organization, not just my brother.
According to statistics, 101 children with Down syndrome were born in Kherson region in 2007 - 2014. The most positive fact is that only seven children were left in orphanages, all the rest are being brought up in the families. It is one of the best indexes across Ukraine. These children are usually left in childcare centers...
Earlier, Kherson residents had not a very good attitude to children and adult people with Down syndrome. However, I have been noticing lately that the attitude is changing. I am very happy to see people starting to smile and laugh along with children with Down syndrome in some public places.
Children's Center "ABC" has provided free space for psychologists and speech pathologists to work with sunny children. Here the children are molding, gluing, making applications, painting. They find out the animal world, get acquainted with nature, they are taught self-help skills, how to talk, dress.
Our children have undergone rehabilitation at the Kyiv Center for Brain Stimulation. The entire Ukraine was collecting money to enable them to try a new method of treatment. We are very grateful to the charitable foundation “Protection” for this opportunity. They launched a wonderful project "I am a child, I am not a Down syndrome!" Thanks to this project, we were able to get sports equipment for our center, which was actually bought by the entire country.
The organization "Sunny Children of Kherson Region" is open to everyone and gladly accepts any help. We have 26 families but we consider not only them to be the members of our organization. In fact, our organization has about 80 members - the parents, our friends, the entrepreneurs who are cooperating with us. We invite everyone to our events so that people could become the members of our organization, our friends and to cooperate with us.
My mother Iryna Hanikova is the head of the organization "Sunny Children of Kherson Region" and I am her assistant. Why am I doing this? I just want people to be tolerant. I have been volunteering to change people's attitude to these children.
I don’t care my brother has a Down syndrome, he's mine. And that's it! I love him for being in my life not for who he is.