Our history

DSIEF was founded in 2010 by a group of 10 families of children with Down syndrome in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

We have an elected committee, currently made up of 5 members, who are responsible for the executive decision making within the foundation. The current Directors are Tanja Kobler, Las Madurasinghe & Georgie Casey.

DSIEF networks with schools, educational NGOs and Down syndrome associations both locally and internationally.

We aim to be at the forefront of developmental and educational support for children with Down syndrome in the Western Cape, with a specific emphasis on early intervention and the implementation of inclusive education curricula in mainstream schools.

In 2011, we partnered with the preprimary school Noah ́s Ark to pilot the “Early Impact” programme. Early Impact integrates children with Down syndrome in a mainstream classroom; providing additional developmental and educational support through the use of special equipment, trained assistants and professional therapists. It was the first of its kind in South Africa.

DSIEF also offers general support and counseling to parents of children with Down syndrome and runs public workshops and seminars for parents, educators and other professionals.

We gather and share knowledge of educational best practice and encourage families of children with Down syndrome and mainstream schools to share our aim of integration and access to proper education for our children.

By 2014, the Early Impact programme was successfully expanded to all preprimary classes at Noah’s Ark for children aged 3 to 6 years.

In 2016, the Early Impact Programme will be launched in our second partner school, Kinder Ark preprimary school in Paarl.

DSIEF is a registered Non Profit Organisation (Section 21 company) with reference 2010/010161/08.