Long-time partners Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) and SM Cares have teamed once again up to promote acceptance and inclusion of persons with Down Syndrome. This is in observance of National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month, held every February.
The observance of the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month aims to facilitate meaningful and timely discussions on the many issues concerning people with Down Syndrome, including their families, advocates, and those who care for them. DSAPI celebrates its 30th founding year this 2022.
SM Cares and DSAPI’s partnership began when DSAPI held its Happy Walk in SM Megamall in 2007. Since then, the event has been held annually garnering more participants and increasing scale year after year.
The celebration of Happy Walk for the years 2021 and 2022 were held virtually via Zoom to ensure the safety of participants amid the current health crisis. The recent online Happy Walk was a complete success with attendees from the different DSAPI chapters nationwide.
Officials of DSAPI and SM Cares during the virtual Happy Walk 2022
With the creation of the Program for Disability Affairs under SM Cares, the partnership between SM and DSAPI was further strengthened, which allowed them to create more awareness and garner more opportunities for support to their initiatives from various stakeholders both in the private and public sectors.
Today, SM Cares continues to aid DSAPI in fulfilling its goal to offer support to families who care for persons living with Down Syndrome, with Happy Walk celebrating its 19th anniversary this year. Another notable partnership initiative was the recently launched Health Care Record Book project for persons with Down Syndrome.
“DSAPI is forever grateful for its partnership with SM and its heart that beats for children with Down Syndrome. We encourage everyone to join us in this advocacy of promoting acceptance and inclusion for all persons with Down Syndrome, ” said Agnes Lapeña, member of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc.
“SM Cares is very proud to be a partner of DSAPI. We will continue to lend them a hand as we work together toward a future that is more inclusive for persons with Down Syndrome, where they can enjoy the same respect and opportunities as everyone else, ” said Engr. Bien Mateo, Senior Vice President of SM Supermalls, and Head of SM Cares PWD Program.
Aside from having programs promoting social inclusion, SM Supermalls also conducts regular PWD Sensitivity Training for its mall security and frontliners to ensure the safety of PWDs and their families inside an SM mall.
Some of SM’s security personnel During the PWD Sensitivity Training in 2021
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, with programs to support communities, promote social inclusion and care for the environment. Its CSR advocacies include the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the Bike-Friendly SM Program.