Challenging 21 on World Down Syndrome Day

Annually, World Down Syndrome Day is marked by people around the world. The day is going digital this year, but with a longer celebration and more ways to get involved than ever before, it should be the day’s biggest year yet.

On 21 March, people around the world will connect with each other to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD): a global awareness day advocating for the rights of people with Down’s syndrome.

This year, WDSD falls on a Sunday, so celebrations will take place all week, from Monday 15 March right through to Sunday 21 March.


“People who have Down’s syndrome should be included in all aspects o society every single day, but WDSD provides a markable day for us all to step back and make sure it is happening,” stresses Kate Potter from the Down’s Syndrome Association.

Since the day was first observed by the United Nations in 2012, it has grown, meaning more people now understand the vital role people who have the condition play in our lives and communities.

“By educating people across the world about Down’s syndrome, we can help to make sure more and more people advocate for the rights and inclusion of people who have Down’s syndrome,” stresses Kate.

To help spread the word each year, organisations like the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) encourage those taking part to don odd socks, Kate explains: “The reason we wear mismatched socks is because chromosomes look like socks, and people who have Down’s syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21.”


Anyone taking part can share their socks on social media using #LotsOfSocks. This form of sharing ties in to the WDSD theme for 2021: connect.

In light of the pandemic and isolation many people have faced over the last 12 months, the theme celebrates the different ways we have learnt to connect.

“Maybe we have learnt the wonders of video calls, or reached out to people we have not spoken to in a long time,” offers Kate. “It could be that we have learnt to say ‘hello’ to our neighbours, or discovered the power of a simple smile.”

In homage to the theme, the DSA are asking people to send in their home videos, talking about how they have connected over the last year and how it has made them feel.

Along with wearing odd socks and acknowledging these meaningful connections, there’s plenty of ways to mark WDSD.

“A fun way to count down to WDSD could be a sponsored activity such as a 21-hour silence, 21 press-ups a day, or it could be 21 days without your favourite things,” suggests Kate. “Or maybe it could be something you can do for others, such as 21 days of kindness or 21 days of new things.”

No matter how you choose to mark WDSD, remember to share it on social media with #LotsOfSocks to connect with others.

How are you marking WDSD? Let us know on social media, TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

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