Let me start by saying that I did not have as much awareness of down syndrome nor did I realize the astronomical number of children affected by down syndrome in Ethiopia until I started attending LKUT Inc.
LKUT is a non-profit organization that focuses primarily on needy children with Down syndrome. I have great admiration and appreciation for what this organization is doing for the community.
Now, the question is what can we do as a community and as individuals to help? As an Ethiopian, I believe that we should start within our own community to support children with special needs as well as the parents of those children. Here are a few ways in order to show our support. We have to welcome these kids into our community by letting them play and act just like any other child. We must also be aware of the thoughts and struggles that the parents are facing in order to ease their worry.
Education and awareness is another way in which we can show our support. Having a child with special needs could happen to anyone. If it does happen how could we feel and respond?
LKUT stands for not only for the children affected by down syndrome in Ethiopia, but also for their parents who are going through everyday challengs and also for the parents who are seeking support here in the United State as well. Over all, as a community, we need to support each other and support the organization as it takes steps to further educate and bring awareness to this issue.

The LKUT program focused on raising awareness about Down Syndrome gave me a perspective of what challenges parents face and how they can get the support of their communities. I heard powerful testimonies from parents of children who have special needs and the support they asked from their communities to help through those challenges.
One of the major takeaways for me from this program and hearing the parent stories is that parents want to just be parents , and not always parents of a child with special needs. While the situation they are dealing with is something that will be part of their lives, parents want to be included in their communities without additional stigma or isolation. The program gave me perspective of what we can do as a community to support parents of children with special needs, and of those what’s is by being inclusive and asking what they need instead of assuming.