Balbir Singh Sekhon pioneered awareness about Down Syndrome in Singapore and has been the pillar of strength for his daughter Jaspreet, who has overcome this intellectual disability to lead a happy life
6/6/2014 4:36:59 PM
|written By : Cheryl Bains|
When I first met Jaspreet Kaur Sekhon, a few years ago, I foundher to be a very fashionable teenager who would beat out the competition in a Bollywood dance-off. I couldn’t help but say hello. But little did I know of her couragious battle in overcoming Down Syndrome.
My friend is today 33 years old, and has been working as a Teacher’s Aide for the last 13 years. She is also a self-advocate and an active member of Down Syndrome Association, Singapore and an Ambassador of Down Syndrome International. She is a sprightly young lady who adores dance and music, travelling and meeting people.
This year was indeed memorable as Jaspreet and her father Dr Balbir Singh Sekhon were recently invited to the World Down Sydrome Day commemorated by the United Nations and addressed a large gathering there.
“I felt very privileged to be invited by Down Syndrome International to speak about health and well being from the point-of-view of a person with Down Syndrome.” Maintaing her composure amid experts and ambassadors, she spoke impressively. It was a great moment for her and her father.
In her speech, she shared some of her thoughts on the attitudes of healthcare professionals, appealed for their professional care and voiced her appreciation for the excellent work that they do. She also addressed the important topic of how people with Down syndrome can be contributing members in their healthcare.
Sekhon too shared his experience, “Having been one of the pioneering advocates to have embarked on Inaugurating World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, 2006 in Singapore, and then having WDSD recognised by the UN as an Official Commemorative Day in 2012, was a proud moment.”
(Cheryl Bains is a 14-year-old high school student at UWCSEA Tampines who started singing lessons at the age of 5. She recently contributed her singing talent to the DSA in their Fundraising Dinner event. She is a solo vocalist and sings Western Classical Opera as well as Hindustani classical music.)