Mar 10

20 March 2019: International Day of Happiness
A meaningful special day founded by a homeless orphan who became a philanthropist.

It was founded in 2011 by Jayme Illien, philanthropist, activist, statesman, and prominent United Nations special advisor.

Thirty-two years before founding the International Day of Happiness, Jayme had been an orphan rescued from the streets of Calcutta, by Mother Teresa’s Sisters. He was later adopted by a forty-five-year-old single white American woman named Anna Belle Illien, who then founded Illien Adoptions International, Inc, a non-profit child social welfare and international adoption agency.

Illien chose March 20 for its significance as the March equinox, a universal phenomenon felt simultaneously by all of humankind, and which occurs the moment when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk.

Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations; a fundamental human goal and a human right.

This year’s theme is “Share Happiness.”  It focuses on the importance of human connection in the context of the epidemic of loneliness and isolation in modern societies.

This holiday was initiated by our small neighbouring country of Bhutan. According to statistics, its citizens are the happiest people on the planet.

What is happiness? For one, it may be family, for another money, or travel etc.  But even when we have everything we dreamed about, we may still not feel happy.

Do you really want to feel happy?

How to Build a Happy Life

Take responsibility for your happiness. Others can help or hurt you, but no one can make you happy. That task is one’s own.

It is like building a home. The foundations for this “home” (happiness) are seven: love, faith, purpose, simplicity of life, forgiveness, gratitude and the ability to enjoy the ordinary pleasure of life.

Depending on your attitudes, you can learn to enjoy the work you do, the people you are with, your age, your state of health, just everything in life. Develop a positive attitude to life.

Happiness is an inside job. It comes from within. And you have a right to be happy.

21 March: Down Syndrome Day
These persons need our special care, and they teach us precious lessons.

Down Syndrome (also called Trisomy 21), is a common genetic birth disorder where extra genetic material causes delays in a child’s mental and physical development. While each cell in the human body contains twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, individuals with Down Syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome.  This disorder is present in all regions of the globe, across racial, gender and socio-economic lines. It affects about one in eight hundred births worldwide.

The syndrome is associated with mild to moderate learning disabilities, growth milestone delays, certain facial features and low muscle tone in early infancy.  People with Down Syndrome are more prone to various infections due to low resistance.

There are no set treatments for Down Syndrome, but adequate access to health care, early intervention programmes and inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.

A wide variety of educational support programs and counselling sessions can help the child and the families concerned to improve their motor movements and social, language and cognitive skills. There are also schools that help these children to socialize and develop important life skills.

This Day is observed in an appropriate manner in more than sixty countries worldwide, in order to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down Syndrome. Funds are raised by several charitable Associations for supporting research and information on medical and scientific advances in this field.

This year, Down Syndrome International focuses on: Leave no one behind

 All people with Down Syndrome must have opportunities to live fulfilling lives and be included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society. The activities and events on this Day showcase their abilities and accomplishments.

Values, such as perseverance, empathy, desire to excel, enthusiasm for the little things, generosity, naturalness, the importance of living in the present … are some of the things people with Down Syndrome teach us, and this enriches all of us.

Sr Esme Da Cunha FDCC

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