Woman with Down syndrome achieves TV weathergirl dream
A Frenchwoman with Down syndrome has fulfilled her dream of presenting the weather on TV after a Facebook campaign drew backing from nearly a quarter of a million people.
Melanie Segard, 21, presented part of TV network France 2's weather forecast on Tuesday night (local time), after a charity started trying to get widespread support behind her dream.
Called 'Melanie peut le faire' - which is 'Melanie can do it' in English - the Facebook page for the campaign attracted likes from more than 238,000 people.
The charity behind the push, Unapei, is dedicated to helping people with disabilities become better integrated and included in the functioning of society.
Their efforts got Ms Segard four days of training for her weathergirl gig, as well as hands-on help from France 2 presenter Chloe Nabedian. Another French network, BFMTV, has now also come forward with an offer of also allowing her present their weather forecast.
Ms Segard noted how her own story could offer encouragement for those with similar struggles to her own.
"It's work! But it's okay," she told Le Parisien, in regard to her time at France 2.
"My dream was to show people the weather, and this can open doors to other people with disabilities."
Unapei president Luc Gateau told La Croix that it was a strong symbol for what the disabled community can achieve.
"It is very strong that a young woman with an intellectual disability can come before millions of French people to do something that is close to her heart," he said.
"These are people who, despite their disabilities, have abilities - and who only ask to express them on condition that we take the time to welcome them in a universe able to adapt to their handicap."