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Group offers ‘free hugs’ to urge public to accept mentally disabled

The Macau Down’s Syndrome Association launched yesterday “free hugs” to urge the public to accept people who have the condition and other mentally disabled people. The group also said that still many local schools do not enrol disabled children, even those who are physically disabled, urging the government to look into the matter and come […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

The Macau Down’s Syndrome Association launched yesterday “free hugs” to urge the public to accept people who have the condition and other mentally disabled people.

The group also said that still many local schools do not enrol disabled children, even those who are physically disabled, urging the government to look into the matter and come up with measures to ensure full education for disabled children.

Sonia Cheang Io Leng, who chairs the association which was established in March, made the remarks on the sidelines of an event the group organised in Iao Hon Park, which included the “free hugs” activity – several dozen children with Down’s syndrome and their parents or relatives gave hugs to residents who attended the event.

Talking to reporters, Cheang said that that there were still many people who have little knowledge of Down’s syndrome thus her association launched the event including the “free hugs” to encourage the public to accept people with the condition.

Apart from the “free hugs” activity, yesterday’s event also included a dance performance by hearing-impaired people, booths and a photo exhibition about Down’s syndrome which will end today.

Cheang said she hoped the government will consider the needs of residents with Down’s syndrome

“For example, there are many places in the city without disabled-friendly facilities… regarding education, many schools still do not accept disabled children even those who are physically disabled,” Cheang said, adding that Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On’s next government should look into the matter and come up with solutions to protect the rights of the disabled.

Chui’s second and constitutionally final five-year term begins on December 20. (macaunews/macaupost)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:53 am

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