My Voice, My Society

Project Summary
Grantee : Down Syndrome Association
Purpose : Training people with Down syndrome to be self-advocates
Location : Turkey
Grant Amount : 94.019 TL
Project Partner : Down Syndrome International
Period : 2 October 2017 - 28 September 2018
Status : Completed
Project Year : 2017


People with Down syndrome are exposed to discrimination throughout their lives. Developed countries place great importance to improve the self-advocacy skills of people with mental disabilities. In order to overcome the social bias against people with Down syndrome in Turkey, there is a need to train people with Down syndrome for self-advocacy.

Project Goals

  • A training kit will be developed in order to train young people with Down syndrome as self-advocates.
  • 8 people with Down syndrome who have the potential to be self-advocates will be selected in Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir.
  • Once a month, these young people will attend training sessions in İstanbul and learn more about their rights.
  • Young person with Down syndrome who make progress in self-advocacy skills will visit the related ministry in Ankara.

Project Results

  • Down Syndrome Association, with its project partner Down Syndrome International, prepared a training kit for young people with Down syndrome to be raised as self-advocates.
  • 9 young people with Down syndrome were selected from İstanbul, Tokat, İzmir and Ankara to be self-advocates. The chosen young people met up once every two weeks in İstanbul joined the training about rights.
  • The self-advocacy group consisting of 8 young people with Down syndrome visited the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 21 March 2018. The group joined the press meeting at the Assembly and gave a speech to the Committee on Health, Family, Labor and Social Affairs.
  • On the same date, another young person from the self-advocacy group gave a speech on work life at the United Nations New York office.


“I learned group work with this project. I learned how to be a self-advocate. I learned about justice. I learned about the social life and how to communicate. I now want to have my own place and live alone.

Young Woman with Down Syndrome

“After this project, we now have a say in and greater knowledge about our rights.

Young Woman with Down Syndrome

“It instilled confidence in Senem and she is a lot more self-confident now. It gave her the courage to live in the society. She now knows that she is capable of overcoming many of the things she was afraid of. She can live in the society with a little help. She has undergone splendid changes in terms of self-expression.

Father of an Individual with Down Syndrome


By filling in this form, you agree that all kinds of personal data that are acquired and will be acquired via contact forms and e-bulletin subscription or that you shared/will share with our foundation can be recorded, stored, updated, deleted, disclosed to third parties, transferred, classified, used to contact you, and processed in ways listed in the law and relevant legislation by Sabancı Foundation (Data Controller) within the scope of the “Law on Protection of Personal Data” numbered 6698 and within the framework of the basis and procedures, the purposes, and methods predicated in the Sabancı Foundation Information Note on Law on Protection of Personal Data.