Down Syndrome South Africa (DSSA) is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO 009-415) and was formed in 1986 as the national umbrella body and parent advocacy organisation and lobby group for the constitutional rights of persons with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. DSSA currently has 12 regional associations and support groups throughout the country that provides services to persons with Down syndrome, developmental delays and their families.


Down Syndrome South Africa is committed to finding ways to improve the quality of life of all persons with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, promoting the idea that they have the right to live with independence, dignity, respect and security as valued children and adults and full citizens in society. It endeavours to empower families through the dissemination of information and promotion of programmes on early intervention, education, health, employment and civil rights. DSSA extends its care, support and services to persons with intellectual disabilities, as well as those with multiple disabilities from all backgrounds in South Africa.


  • The establishment of parent support groups and community development projects in the impoverished areas of our country:
  • Capacity building of our members in all nine provinces
  • Strengthening the voices of our self-advocates through the self-advocacy movement
  • Rights-Based Advocacy at the national and provincial level to ensure that the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are upheld
  • The raising of public awareness in both urban and rural areas specifically around the 21st March (World Down Syndrome Day) and 20th October (National Down Syndrome Day) in reducing stigma and discrimination.

IMMEDIATE GOAL – 2019-2020

To create employment opportunities for the youth with Down syndrome to the World of Work, currently, there is little to no opportunities for persons with Down syndrome to access employment in South Africa.

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  • Implemented the Social Inclusion Project through the Nedbank Foundation by working with communities in 4 provinces to include persons with Down syndrome in their communities from 2016-2017
  • Collaborated on a joint submission to the List of Issues to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on South Africa’s domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights Of Persons with Disabilities 2017
  • Collaborated in the drafting of the Alternative Report on the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities in 2017
  • Successfully establish the Self-Help groups in rural communities through the Strengthen the Township project from 2011 – 2014
  • Legislation and Policy: Education White Paper No.6, Labour Equity Act, Sterilisation Act of 1984
  • Capacity Training of Member: Pre & post-birth support and training, Parent Counselling, Early childhood interventions, Educational support, Life skills development, Self-advocacy, Sport, social and cultural activities, Employment, skills and economical empowerment, HIV / AIDS
  • Lobbying: The 20th October officially declared as National Down Syndrome Day by the late President Mr Nelson Mandela
  • Launched the Self-advocacy movement in 2009 in which two individuals with intellectual disabilities were included on the DSSA executive committee;
  • Hosted the 2nd African conference that was attended by 400 delegates with international speakers
  • Research network with universities
  • Successfully advocated for the signing of the Africa Disability Protocol by the South African Government.

To see more on Down Syndrome South Africa, please log on to our website: www.downsyndrome.org.za

Visit our Facebook Page: Down Syndrome South Africa

Ancella Ramjas

National Executive Director

To mark this year’s celebration Down Syndrome South Africa in collaboration with Down Syndrome Association Pretoria is planning on hosting a Health and Wellness Day, looking to “Leave no one Behind, while We Decide”. This day will be a celebration of persons with Down syndrome, a day to spread awareness BUT most importantly it will be a day where babies, children and adults with Down syndrome will have access to health screening. This will be an opportunity for many who do not necessarily have adequate access to health care services. We would like to provide care not only for the children but also for the parents, many of whom may be feeling overwhelmed and needing support and guidance. We plan to have a multi-disciplinary team available for all who join us for this day.