January 24th, 2013
Emanuela Pepkola Zaimi, Marketing and Development Manager of Junior Achievement Albania, held on January 24, 2012 an open Forum with the students of Epoka University, discussing with them about the Down Syndrome. Mrs. Emanuela Pepkola Zaimi during her discussion with the students confessed her experience and said that the Down Syndrome should not be seen as an illness or disgrace. She said that she has discovered herself after her son Arbri came to life, who has diagnosed with Down syndrome. According to Mrs. Pepkola Zaimi, being a mother of a child with Down Syndrome should not be regarded as a misfortune, but as e moment of reflection about what happens in everyone’s life. Referring to her experience, she stressed that “everything that happens in our life has a reason, life is something that happens while we make plans".
“After I knew that my son was born with Down syndrome, surely I felt bad at the beginning. The main reason was that I did not have information on what to expect in life after this. Of course, after I did a little research, I got the right information and found out that our lives would be a little more difficult than the other parents, but not less healthy and blessed”, she said. She also informed the students about Down syndrome, adding that there is a misconception by Albanian society as a disease. “Down Syndrome is not a disease but a genetic accident, which can happen to every couple expecting a baby. People with Down syndrome generally have a desire to share the love that they have for life with others and therefore I have chosen to name it differently "the most beloved syndrome in the world," she said.
Mrs. Emanuela Pepkola Zaimi said that after the arrival of her son Arbi, two events have been organized under her auspice. Their main aim was to raise awareness and inform the society about the syndrome and needs of people with this syndrome. "Buddy Walk Albania", organized on 21 March 2012, on the World Day Down Syndrome and "Shtepiza e Arbushit", organized at the center of Tirana during the New Year’s holidays, not only intended the raising of funds for children with Down Syndrome ("Shtepiza e Arbushit"), but above all, it intended the awareness and spreading of a positive message. Personally, I choose to have a positive approach and try to give a positive message, given by the fact that the Albanian society wrongly sees this as a disease”, she said.
She also answered the questions addressed to her by students and at the end she thanked students and participants for the presence and the hospitality.