March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. This year, Jiha was kind enough to share his story with us.
At 28 years of age, Jiha spent his days in a wheelchair, constantly in pain, with minimal movement, blood pressure problems and overweight. Now 6 years later, Jiha has just celebrated his 34th birthday, with no wheelchair in sight. He has lost an incredible 30kgs and is enjoying his life to the fullest. Jiha has recently achieved his black belt in Zen Do Kai, following the footsteps of his dad. He now works with NAYILS to teach and encourage his mates to do Zen Do Kai.
Jiha is a perfect reflection of what NAYILS do and what martial arts training can do. He now has the strength and self-confidence to do anything life throws at him.
Jiha is a bubbly person, with the ability to make everyone smile and feel welcome. With his kind heart and willingness to help others, Jiha is well liked by his peers. Jiha has a fun sense of humour and is always in the mood for a laugh.
Jiha now attends NAYILS 5 days a week and thoroughly enjoys getting involved in all the activities on offer, as well has hanging out with his mates.
He thoroughly enjoys the Art Therapy program and having the opportunity to create art in a fun environment with his friends and support workers.
Jiha very is passionate about music, if there is a good song playing you can bet he is playing the air guitar or drums along to it. Jiha is also quite the dancer, he always participates in Hip Hop classes and does it with a big smile. Jiha jams the electric guitar to his favourite tunes on Mondays along while his friends sing and play the piano.
Jiha now lives in independently with two flatmates. He enjoys preparing and cooking meals and is very particular about keeping tidy home.
Jiha looks forward to visiting family and has a strong relationship with his dad, who he looks up to, and cherishes the time they spend together.
In 2019 Jiha created an art piece showcased by the NuunRon First Nation art group. The painting represents Jiha’s journey and how he intends to follow in his father’s footsteps. In the bottom left of the painting you can see people doing a Zen Do Kai class, Jiha being at the back wearing the green belt and his Dad up the front leading the group. To the right of that you can see Jiha in a circle with his friends, in the top right you can now see Jiha leading the group, while his Dad steps away to the left of the painting. The background of the painting represents where he lives. You can see the ocean, sand, and mountains. This painting journeys through Jiha’s life and how through his culture he will rise and be the man he looked up to his entire life.