Support children with Down syndrome

Leandrea Louw
Leandrea Louw • Walvis Bay

A gospel concert in aid of children with Down syndrome will be hosted at the Narraville Community Hall in Walvis Bay on 25 June.

The concert, hosted under the auspices of Jubilee Ministries Windhoek, will feature various local artists such as Azaria Visagie, Bradley Jonathan, Vivian Molauly, Ayden and Tamaryn Beukes, Sister Mona, JR and Keanen Cupido, as well as Breyton Kröhne.

Bonita Antoncich, mother of Nehemia (4) who was born with Down syndrome, is one of the organisers of the event. “I realized that there are a lot of mothers who have the same needs and challenges as I do, and a little bit of help goes a long way. Nehemia has been a part of our family for the past four years, and the journey thus far has not come without challenges, but if I get the chance to do it again, I would. He is our angel-child.”

Antoncich explained it is extremely expensive to raise a child with special needs. “From my personal experience, needs include nappies, medicines, and special foods he needs to consume. Because of this, we felt we needed to reach out to other mothers and see how we can assist each other.”

She explained the idea is to make up parcels with the necessary items for the children.

Jenny Lawrence, co-organiser and family friend of the Antoncichs, explained that the long-term plan is to set up a school for children with Down syndrome in Narraville. “There aren’t many options for parents with special-needs children. Many of them are left to settle for mainstream schools which, at times, do not have the capabilities to deal with a special-needs child.”

She stated that there is still stigma surrounding children with Down syndrome in the local community. “I know a mother with a Down syndrome child who kept him at home, out of the public eye, ever since he was born. She didn’t want to show him to the world. I started encouraging her to be more open, and nowadays, they can be seen walking hand-in-hand to church.”

Antoncich encouraged people to look at special-needs children from a different angle. “Don’t feel pity, they are a child like any other. All they want is love and acceptance, like any other child. They are the most lovable and bright children. With this show we hope to plant a small seed of change in people’s minds about children with Down syndrome. We are calling on the entire Walvis Bay community to support this gospel day.”

Tickets cost N$100, and a lucky draw will also be hosted.