Virtual conference celebrates NZDSA anniversary in style

The NZDSA has completed an incredible World Down Syndrome Awareness Month in which it celebrated its 40th anniversary by hosting the largest Virtual Down Syndrome Conference this country has ever seen.

“The past month has been a rollercoaster for everyone involved and we want to thank our speakers from all over the world, the hundreds of families who participated and the NZDSA staff involved in organising this event which has set new standards,” says NZDSA National Executive Officer Zandra Vaccarino.

The NZDSA, in its 40 years, has organised numerous large scale events for its members, but the power of modern video technology has enabled the Association to reach more people all over the country than ever before, to share an incredible variety of information by a range of experts.

Minister Carmel Sepuloni speaking at the Virtual Down Syndrome Conference. (CLICK IMAGE TO PLAY VIDEO)

During the past month over 700 individuals and households joined one or more of the 22 events and presentations.

The 34 speakers hosted a staggering 2748 minutes of webinars, Q&A sessions and social gatherings.

Vaccarino says a live conference with 34 speakers, 700 guests and nearly 50 hours of presentations would have been nearly impossible to pull off, but Covid lockdowns have taught us new ways of communicating, which has created endless new opportunities.

The NZDSA was keen to celebrate its 40th anniversary in style, and Vaccarino hopes the Virtual Conference has demonstrated what the Association has to offer.

“We really want to encourage anyone who is yet to become an NZDSA member, to register as a member, so we can offer our support and our resources and represent more families and whānau when we advocate for our community,” says Vaccarino.

Unlike most conferences, the NZDSA decided not to charge for any of the webinars, so as to give as many families access as possible.

“We want to keep offering these types of events, but as we are not funded by Government, we fully rely on donations to keep our Association going,” says Vaccarino.

“If you got value out of your session, we would welcome a one-off donation on our website (click here).