And 18-year old Sama Ramy is to thank!
Thanks to Sama Ramy, Egypt's Minister of Higher Education, Khaled Abdelghaffar, following the Minister of Education Tarek Shawki’s decision, has officially banned the term 'Mongolian Idiocy’ or ‘Mongolian Dementia’ from being used in reference to people with Down Syndrome in Egyptian textbooks.
As of a few days ago, the term ‘Mongolian dementia’ was still being used as an acceptable synonym for the term ‘Down Syndrome’ in the official Higher Education Biology curricula.
Ramy is an eighteen-year-old Egyptian girl studying Sociology at Cairo University who succeeded at making the amendment in Egyptian public school curricula to change, and now the decision has reached universities as well.
Sama Ramy posted on her Facebook page that when HE Abdelghaffar invited her to his office, she took the opportunity to request the change in the curricula. Afterwards, he immediately called up the Cairo University President Dr. Mohamed El Khosht and informed him the term was not to be used again.
“The Minister of Education called me the icon of removing [the term] ‘Mongolian dementia’ from the Egyptian curricula,” Ramy told Down Syndrome International.
Ramy's campaign to improve the public perception of people with Down Syndrome began a year ago when she was denied a chance to study in a tourism secondary school due to her condition. This led her to start her Facebook page, where she shares her journey of living in Egypt and her efforts to overcome the misperceptions that come her way.