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#OurMasha Campaign Fights Back Against Down's Syndrome Discrimination

Every now and then a story surfaces that is beyond abhorrent. A story so horrible, so vile, that it prompts utter disbelief. That is exactly the case here, as angry parents at a Russian school have demanded that pictures of Masha, a 7-year-old girl suffering from Down's Syndrome, be removed from the school yearbook. Their reasoning? They don't want the unfortunate girl's image appearing alongside their own children. If that isn't enough to make you feel sick to your stomach, I don't know what is.

The now infamous yearbook - RT
Masha has been attending the school in Moscow due to an inability to secure a placement at a special needs facility. Her mother, herself a primary school teacher at the school, had requested that the school permit Masha to attend classes until such a time as a place became available so that she could keep a close eye on her, so Masha spent her days with the 4th grade pupils without any issue. Then the yearbook arrived.

Natalia Vodianova
The vast majority of the yearbook didn't even feature Masha. In fact, there was only one image, on one page, of her in the entire book. Unfortunately, for some parents, that was enough to constitute a torrent of complaints to the headmaster. As reported by RT, some commenters argued the placement of her picture (top & center) as it apparently implied that she was the most important student, while others openly admitted that they would hide the evidence if such a child was to feature in their own yearbook, lest people think that they had attended a correction class.

Luckily, the story was picked up by Russian supermodel and founder of the Naked Hearts Foundation, Natalia Vodianova, whose own sister suffers from autism. Vodianova has been an ever present activist in support of those with special needs since opening her foundation in 2004, so it comes as no surprise that she was outraged by this story. In response to the downright horrible event, she started the hashtag #OurMasha, encouraging the families of those with special needs to share their story, increase awareness and spread a positive message about those unfortunate enough to struggle with such issues. The hashtag soon filled up with support for Masha and images from parents of special needs children, each showing their love for their kids regardless of any condition they may suffer from. If you are feeling downhearted by how this story began, a quick scroll through the #OurMasha feed should be enough to restore your faith in humanity.



Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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#OurMasha Campaign Fights Back Against Down's Syndrome Discrimination Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 Rating: 5

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