The Centre
Projects 2010
Calendar 2010
Down's syndrome

Planet 47 - Project description

From an idea to the project

Slovenia has approximately 2 million citizens and about 10 children with DS are born here each year. One of the advantages of living in a small country is an opportunity to help each person with DS individually.

There has been an association (Sožitje) with a DS section successfully operating in Slovenia for about 20 years but there has been no residential centre dedicated solely to the DS.

Therefore, soon after a child with DS was born to Alan and Baba Gaia Asta, the couple initiated the idea to establish Planet 47 – "planet" representing a particular inside world of people with DS, and 47 standing for 47 chromosomes (instead of the usual 46).

Planet 47’s priority is to find these Down’s syndrome individuals’ special talents and skills that can greatly help them live their life more fully and have improved opportunities for social inclusion. But these talents can only be found by observing children’s innermost interests while playing spontaneously.

Once the talents are recognized they have to be developed and directed with extra care and consideration. This, however, cannot be done without a warm, friendly place where these challenged but deeply emotional and often extraordinarily gifted children, and their families, feel at home and get all the necessary support. Only in this kind of environment, do these children open up enough to let us peek into their special world.

It is also important to start working with them very early in life because learning becomes more and more difficult for them with age.


Project realization

When finished, the Planet 47 Centre will have a capacity to accommodate up to 40 persons for several days to attend workshops, lectures, counselling, groups, meetings, etc.

The stone house – that was going to be the centre of the Planet 47 complex – was in a poor state but it went through a process of rebuilding and renovation. It only needs the final touch – furnishing – and it will become a perfect meeting place where young people with Down’s syndrome and their families can come here to share their own experience with one another, meet mentors and talk to other professionals (from the fields of defectology, medicine, psychology, education …).

The location of the Centre is ideal for its activities. It is set in a tiny eco village Hrbatini (a member of GEN – Global Ecovillage Network) near the village of Koštabona. There is peaceful silence here and beautiful nature is all around – just what sensitive children need for their optimal growth.

Materials and resources we use for (re)building, and for living, are eco-friendly (for example, (re)building with stone and wood; heating rooms & sanitary water with biomass and solar energy).

Years ago, the Institute for Communication Development (Zavod za napredne komunikacije) was established here (also by Alan and Baba Gaia Asta) with the objective of improving interpersonal communication, and spreading awareness of a quality relationship with nature and the social environment. The Planet 47 Project added a whole new level to our enterprise – working toward raising a quality of life for people with DS and enabling them to lead as independent a life as possible.