How it began?

In October 1994, a child was born in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, being a third of three daughters. The mother, like many others in the developing countries, did not know, neither had she heard anything known as Down syndrome. Five months on, she noticed that the child’s development was not what she expected to be.

The mother went to Muhimbili hospital in Dar, ‘Makuti’. While there, a doctor, whom she already knew from School days, passed by and said, ‘’Can’t you see that your child is Down Syndrome?’’. At that time there was no way I could search online for the meaning of that word neither was there any information or counselling.

As the case is in most African countries, the community thought it is curse, or a punishment from God or gods and there- fore I am being punished. Now I realize it is not about curse or punishment as It happens to all, regardless of economic, social class, race or religion. Though it is most common among those who are aged 35 and above, but there are many cases where young mothers as young as 22 have Down Syndrome children. Worldwide 1 in every 800 births, one is Down Syndrome. That child is non-other than Penny Aika Pettit, who went to own inclusive private school and finished Class seven in 2008 without knowing how to read and write. She only knew few numbers and letters.

Mission , Vision and Core Values

Our Vision

We envision an inclusive society where people with Down Syndrome are treated in such a way that their basic human rights and needs are sustained to improve their livelihood.

Our Mission

The organization is committed to enhance high quality social related services to people different stakeholders including Government, private sector, Civil Society organizations and Development Partners through awareness creation, Advocacy and capacity building at different levels in the community.

Our Core Values:

Excellent quality, Integrity

Please join our efforts in any way possible

Why a Foundation?

In most of the developing countries there is no Early Intervention, no Statement of Disability, not even Educational progress after the child finishes Primary School.

This what prompted Penny’s family and some few other parents to come up with the idea of starting a Foundation which will address those issues in Tanzania.

The Foundation then known as Penny Aika Down Syndrome was first registered in 2011 under a not-for-profit Company. In Feb 2017 it was registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation by the then MoHCDGEC to operate in all regions in Tanzania Mainland, and it is a member of SHIVYAWATA (Shirikisho la Vyama vya Walemavu Tanzania); also a member of Africa Down Syndrome Network (ADSN) and Down Syndrome International (DSi).

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the then MoHCDGEC which would be renewed with the now Ministry of Health. Another MoU with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology [MoEST}. We have a branch office in Meru District in Arusha. Down Syndrome persons could have free health diagnosis, continue with education beyond primary level, be given opportunity to work the jobs which they can and be included in all social set-ups.

We believe in working together with policy makers, well-wishers and all like-minded people to make a difference not only of Down Syndrome people, but all other Learning Disabilities in Tanzania.