Carys Cares – Creativity Empowerment for Youth with Down Syndrome

Story By
Sri Utami

Carys Mihardja, even at her young age, has already achieved so much and been recognised for her kind-hearted and sincere passion in helping children with Down Syndrome. Through Carys Cares, her charges creativity is shown in beautiful paintings transformed into unique merchandise.

Carys was always an academic star at her school, Sekolah Pelita Harapan Lippo Village and she received the Top Academic Student Award (Valedictorian) in 2020. She has found opportunities to bring more awareness to Carys Cares which have, in turn, opened doors for the down syndrome children. On World Down Syndrome Day in 2021, along with UNICEF Indonesia, Carys was selected to be a panelist speaker along with the Presidential staff of the President of Indonesia on the theme “Youths Helping to Break Stigmas in the Community”. She received Youngest Awardee from the APEC Best Award: Special Prize for Social Impact in Society in 2020 and selected as an ASEAN Youth Ambassador for ASEAN countries out of over 8,000 applicants across 10 ASEAN countries in 2021. 

Carys Cares is an initiative that was founded in 2018, focusing on Down Syndrome Awareness and Youth Empowerment. Carys Cares focuses on their 'painting' talent. From their beautiful paintings, they create high quality products such as tote bags, umbrellas, note books, ceramic mugs and other merchandise. In March 2019, Carys Cares also created face masks and other new essentials to stop the Covid-19 spread. 

Why Down Syndrome? Because this community has been very close to Carys’ heart. They are not people with disabilities, they have different abilities. They do have talent. Yes, they may be limited, but when they put their heart into their task and with the support of their positive surroundings, the results are amazing.

All profits from the sales of the merchandise are donated to help individuals with down syndrome and to the POTADS Foundation for low income families with down syndrome as funds to pay for their therapies.

Carys chose this business model instead of fund raising alone as she believes this it is sustainable, and creates job opportunities for less fortunate communities as many of them have lost their jobs since the pandemic started.

Many of  her acquaintances and other companies have followed this model to help people in need. Not limited to the down syndrome community, they also care for children with cancer, basic education in rural areas, and basic food needs in underprivileged areas. For this cause, Carys Cares received the APEC 2020 Award for Social Impact in Society representing Indonesia. 

With all the achievements, Carys Cares believes they have to ‘Pay It Forward’ to other friends in need, not just from their community but also through UNICEF Indonesia as a trusted and leading platform. On Down Syndrome Day 2021, all profits from sales from 21-31 March 2021 were donated to UNICEF Indonesia which has been a great supporter to other initiative programs.

Another notable achievement is a partnership with SOGO Indonesia, as the country’s leading Department Stores and has been providing great support in displaying Carys Cares creations in their stores. This is such a great platform for down syndrome awareness, especially in creating sales where all profits at SOGO are donated to support Carys Cares friends with down syndrome.

Carys’ dream is to always aspire others in helping those less fortunate and with the help of media and partners such as inclover and SOGO, others will surely follow.

Instagram @carys.cares