February 17, 2016 - New York, NY/Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and Saut: The Voice of Down Syndrome Society (Saut), announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership under which the two nonprofit organizations will collaborate to bring awareness and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome to new heights on an international platform.
HRH Princess Rima bint Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saut’s Chair, represented the nonprofit at the signing ceremony held in the city of Riyadh while Ms. Sara Hart Weir, NDSS’ President, signed on behalf of NDSS.
The partnership, “The International Voice for People with Down Syndrome” will forge the first-ever Down syndrome global collaborative to advance awareness, advocacy and activism for people with Down syndrome. It contains a number of joint initiatives spanning education, training, awareness, and advocacy. NDSS, the leading organization for Down syndrome in the United States, will utilize its over 35 years of experience to assist in expanding infrastructure for individuals with Down syndrome throughout Saudi Arabia and introducing successful awareness and educational initiatives to the Kingdom.
“This partnership is the first of its kind on an international level and we look forward to working closely with NDSS in order to expand our services and reach a greater number of individuals with Down syndrome throughout the Kingdom and the broader region,” said Saut Chair HRH Princess Rima bint Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. “Saut has accomplished a great deal since its inception in 2010 thanks to the generous support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, whose commitment to philanthropy and charitable causes is unparalleled. Moreover, we are proud that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, accepted the Honorary Presidency of Saut last year in recognition of its achievements and has generously donated the needed funds for expanding our network of schools into the city of Jeddah, reflecting his staunch support for the right of individuals with Down syndrome to have access to a quality education. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, is also well-known for his dedication to the advancement of issues relating to children, education and special needs and we are grateful for his support of our mission. With the backing of our wise leadership, we are ready to embark on the next stage of Saut’s expansion plan. NDSS has an impressive track record when it comes to advocacy and public policy and it has made great strides in education and community outreach as well. This partnership provides us with a powerful opportunity to further realize Saut’s vision of creating a future where individuals with Down syndrome can live as productive, valued members of their communities.”
“NDSS is thrilled to enter into this global partnership with Saut, and have the ability to continue to make a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families around the world,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “We look forward to leveraging our deep knowledge, expertise and leadership in advocacy and public policy, public awareness, research, employment and community outreach to individuals with Down syndrome and their families throughout Saudi Arabia.”
“NDSS focuses on addressing issues across the lifespan of an individual with Down syndrome. As part of our collaboration, I am personally excited about the opportunity to develop a formal postsecondary program for students with Down syndrome and other disabilities in Saudi Arabia. NDSS works with a number of institutions of higher education in the United States that maintain excellent programs, and we know firsthand that these programs lead to more employment opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome,” said NDSS Chairman Robert Taishoff.
NDSS, which has the most extensive and up-to-date information and materials on Down syndrome in the world, will also work with Saut to translate its print and web-based resources into Arabic to ensure families in Saudi Arabia and the broader region have access to the best information on Down syndrome in the world.
The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization with more than 350 affiliates nationwide representing over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome. The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information visit www.ndss.org.
About Saut:The Voice of Down Syndrome Society
Saut: The Voice of Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization based in Riyadh, KSA. The mission of Saut is to empower individuals with Down syndrome in Saudi Arabia through world-class education, training, research and awareness. Saut owns and operates specialized schools offering educational and vocational services to individuals with Down syndrome from birth to employment and its state of the art curriculum employs effective, well-researched techniques, incorporating best practices in the field of Down syndrome education. Saut’s vision is a future where people with Down syndrome can live to their full potential as productive, valued members of their communities. For more information visit www.saut.org.sa.