World Down’s syndrome Day 2019: In Geneva at the United Nations!

Francesca Goff and Harley Jollie

l-r: Harley’s Mum Pat, Harley, Francesca, Annemarie (Francesca’s Mum in white), Angie (from Time 2 Shine) and Ted

Hello our names are Francesca and Harley and we are Shiner Fellows. You might have met us at Positive Choices in Hull and or Dublin? I am 17 and Harley is 19 we both live with our parents in Cornwall and go part time to a local college. We both have big dreams; I would like to teach dance and love being part of Pick n’ Mix dance troop.  Harley wants to work for the police force.

We first met learning disability nurses at Positive Choices in Hull.  It was great to be with nurses who just ‘got it’, understood how we spoke and what we wanted to do with our lives. We are really happy to have learning disability nurses in our lives as they make sure we get what everyone else takes for granted.

We wanted to tell you about something really exciting that we did. In March 2019 we travelled to Geneva with our mums, Angie from Time 2 Shine (Ted who is 12 came with us and kept us very entertained!) and Helen from Positive Choices to address the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Palais de Nations! Down Syndrome International (DSi) invited us to go along with other young people from Indonesia, Spain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand and Poland (see photo right). We did wonder how we would all manage with the languages, but it was fine. Everyone was well supported and after being shy at first we all worked together.

We flew to Geneva from Bristol, the staff were very helpful, and then caught the shuttle bus to our hotel. We were all very excited that first night. Anne Marie (Francesca’s mum) was put in charge of managing the bus timetables (phew!) and did a brilliant job of getting us to the right place on time. Public transport in Switzerland was very easy to use. Pat (Harley’s mum) was in charge of taking all the photos!

Harley and Kate

On the Wednesday we got up early as we had to be at the Ecumenical Centre, 1 Route des Morillons, 1218 Grand Saconnex, Switzerland – that was two buses and a little walk. Pat and Harley bought some painted rocks to leave so we left some there and are waiting to see if anyone posts on Facebook they have found them. We spent the day together becoming confident in what we wanted to say to the UN and making friends. It was amazing to meet the model Kate Grant she is so pretty and really lovely.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel.  We had a bit of a party that night to celebrate how far we had come and what we were going to show the world.

On Thursday Morning we made our way to the UN past the broken chair and into the grounds themselves. Our nerves kicked in then, but when we met up with everyone else we soon settled. And then we were off.  What we had to say was live streamed around the world and lots of people kept tweeting us! Our theme was ‘Leave no one behind in the world of work’ and we think we did a pretty good job!

We might see you at Positive Choices, or you could be the nurse that supports us to access the hospital.  Pleases say hello!

Comments are closed.