October 10, 2012

Planet 47: A Beacon of Light.

I met Alan, Gaia, and Val a few summers ago, and soon after meeting them visited their center / community / home.

They built this place with their hands, with their hearts, and with their courage.

And you feel it when you are here. You feel the earth, you feel the love, and you feel the life that is affirmed so powerfully and so beautifully all around.

From the natural stone houses, to the massive fresh water reservoir that Alan dug out beneath their house, to the beautiful garden with dog, cats and children playing together.

There is a simplicity here that underlines the challenges that this family have faced – and overcome.

And that’s what I’d like you to note: challenges overcome.

This place is not just a holistic center for children with Down Syndrome. It is a beacon of light in the world.

Watch the short video, and be inspired:

From the Planet 47 team:

Down syndrome (or DS) is the most common chromosome abnormality in human race. What happens in this case is that an additional chromosome develops (fully or partially) on the 21st pair of chromosomes. This results in people with DS having similar facial characteristics as well as similar health problems.

Planet 47 Centre is located in Slovenia, a small European country (with only about two million citizens) on the sunny side of the Alps. The country is famous for its diverse, clean, quite idyllic nature. However, the policy on treating people with disabilities is, unfortunately, not that idyllic.

So, when Val was born to Gaia and Alan they decided to improve the situation. They came up with the idea to found a holistic center for children with Down syndrome. With the help of donations they have, so far, collected enough money to buy and renew a few houses in an abandoned village in the costal region of the country, next to the Slovene-Croatian border and not far from Italy. Surrounded by the intact nature, there stands the first Center for the children with Down syndrome in Slovenia – Planet 47.

Why this name? Planet—because our research and developmental programs are suitable not only for Slovenia but globally; and 47—because of the additional chromosome that people with DS have (all others have 23 pairs).

Some people say that precisely this extra chromosome is a bearer of special abilities or talents typical of these people, such as exceptional emotional intelligence or distinctive artistic talent.

In our center, children will have perfect conditions to learn basic life skills together, by working and playing. This way, they will develop their social skills and working habits, while we will be able to focus our attention on finding and then developing their particular talents, which is a specialty of Planet 47 programs.

For this next step – to begin carrying out our programs intensively—we turn to you for your help. We need finances to realize our developmental programs, to buy requisites and pay the experts that will help our little sunshines develop in the way they deserve.

We believe our programs will become a model of good praxis that will be applicable in the countries around the world.

We also believe that this idyllic village is a great place not only for the children with DS but for everyone who wants to get away from the crazy world to relax in the midst of peaceful and beautiful nature—including you, our dear donators. You are always welcome to visit us.

Thank you for supporting us.

Simplest way to support them: share this message. The more people see this the more money they’ll raise, so share, email, “like,” Tweet, and spread the word.

And go here to make a contribution to the campaign.

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Ben Ralston  |  Contribution: 13,555