"Sun for best friend": how dogs and young people with Down syndrome help each otherBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/sun-for-best-friend-how-dogs-and-young-people-with-down-syndrome-help-each-other
The Sun for the Best Friend is the first project in Russia for the professional adaptation of young people with Down syndrome. The lack of job training programs and jobs for people with Down syndrome is an important problem for tens of thousands of families with a child with Down syndrome. About 2500 people with diabetes are born in Russia every year, and only a few are officially employed!
This program is designed to draw public attention to the problem of employment of people with Down syndrome in Russia. The main goal of the project is to show that the children of the sun are full-fledged employees, they want and can work fully.
Mars, represented by the Pedigree brand, and the Downside Up Charitable Foundation conducted the first study in Russia on the professional orientation of young people with Down syndrome, during which they were taught how to care for dogs.
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“We were able to prove that people with Down syndrome can successfully work in pet hotels. This is a unique synergy when dogs perceive a person as he is. And guys with Down syndrome have a natural ability for empathy and kindness,” says Mars President Valery Shchapov.
The idea of the study was a continuation of the global creative campaign of the Pedigree® brand “Feed the good” (“To those who make us better”), which tells how devotion and loyalty of dogs bring out the best in people, helping to become softer and kinder.
As part of the study, five participants came twice a week to the dog training center near Moscow and the Khors hotel for dogs - it is there, far from their owners, that animals feel the greatest need for special attention and care.
Young people learned to work, to be independent and responsible, taking care of dogs. Thus, it was possible to find one solution for two problems at once.
“Seventeen years ago, the most important priority of the foundation was the preservation of children with Down syndrome in the family, their proper upbringing and education.
Too many refused them, not knowing or not understanding what to do with such a child.
Today it is necessary to move on and work on their professional self-realization in society,” said Irina Menshenina, Development Director of the Downside Up Charitable Foundation.
About 2,500 "sunny" babies are born in our country every year - this is how children with Down syndrome are called. Until adulthood, they receive education and the necessary skills thanks to the many years of efforts of foundations and specialized schools. But even so, after graduation, young people remain without work. This means that they have nowhere to use the accumulated knowledge, gain experience and develop in the future.
“They can and want to work. This is the first achievement of our research with Mars. Secondly, we have gained experience that is easy and simple to share with other charitable or commercial organizations that want to repeat it in their city, region or even another country,” added Irina Menshenina.
The study began in May 2015. Until November, the preparatory stage lasted. From December to February, a professional orientation took place in the Khors hotel near Moscow, already with real tasks and responsibilities: caring for dogs, feeding them, walking and even basic animal training.
The specially designed program began with “attentive adaptation”, during which cynologists and psychologists were constantly with the participants, fully supporting the children and controlling all work processes.
The next stage was "free adaptation" - there was more freedom in the performance of duties, because young people already knew what animals they would communicate with and what to do.
“If enough time is given to professional training, children with Down syndrome can undoubtedly participate in the work process and be useful,” said Anton Bardadim, owner of the Khors dog hotel near Moscow.
About Mars Incorporated, which, through the Pedigree brand, together with the Downside Up Charitable Foundation, conducted the first study in Russia on the career guidance of young people with Down syndrome
Mars Incorporated is a privately held, family owned company with over a century of history and world renowned brands such as M&M'S®, PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ORBIT®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN'S®.
More information about Mars Incorporated is available on the mars.com corporate website. Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
About Downside Up
The Downside Up Charitable Foundation has been operating in Russia since 1997. The foundation's assistance programs include developmental and educational sessions for children with Down syndrome from birth to school, psychological support for parents, publication of specialized literature for families and professionals, and much more. The Foundation's programs include more than 5,300 children and their loved ones in all regions of Russia.
The Downside Up Foundation also successfully transfers its methods to organizations and state institutions in the field of education, health and social protection and conducts educational work in the community about the nature of Down syndrome, the possibilities and needs of such people. All assistance is provided by the Downside Up Foundation free of charge.
A documentary was also made about the Pedigree® study, directed by Taisiya Reshetnikova:
Keywords: Cynologists | Profession | Work | Down syndrome | Dogs | Labor | Employment | Care
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