Is Eleonore Laloux About To Change The Course of History?

Meet a woman who is reaching for the stars and may just have them within her grasp.

(Denis Kuvaev /

This 34-year-old resident of Arras, a town in north-east France, has made it her life’s mission to strive for a more just society. This month, Eleonore Laloux has set her sights on winning a council seat in the area’s local elections. But if she gains the support of enough local people, what will make her success exceptional is that this determined young woman could be France’s first local politician with Down Syndrome.

But in many ways, Laloux’s life has always been exceptional. As a young girl, her parents refused to enroll her in a special needs school. They encouraged her to lead a normal life, which led her to successfully pursue a fully independent lifestyle. Laloux lives on her own, and is fond of movies and fashion (she is known for her distinctive colorful glasses ). She plays her guitar to unwind. She speaks with some difficulty, but moves around with apparent ease.

Her family’s encouragement  did wonders for her self-esteem. It equipped her with the belief that would help her sidestep bullies and get a job as an administrator in a hospital that she has held for 14 years.

"When you view a person through the prism of their inabilities... they will behave like a disabled person. But if you view them for their abilities, they can grow," her father, Emmanuel Laloux, told French news agency AFP.

She would go on to found “Friends of Eleanore”, an association which challenges the social stigmas people with mental disabilities face. She has even written a book entitled Down Syndrome, So What?

Motivation is something that Laloux has in plentiful supply! She has created a list of priorities for Arres, a relatively prosperous town of around 40,000 people in a region facing economic challenges. Not surprisingly, many of these revolve around making life for people with disabilities easier by fast tracking their integration into society. To facilitate easier access for them in everyday life, for instance, she would like to see electric buses with wheelchair ramps. She also dreams of audio and brail aids to help those with hearing and sight issues cross streets, for instance.

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Enfin!!! Bravo et encore bravo ! #trisomie21 #downsyndrome #toutlemondeasaplace #onavance #eleonorelaloux #municipales

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Laloux is aligned with incumbent mayor, Frederic Leturque, who is favorite to win again. It is he who asked her to stand as a candidate in the upcoming local elections. He also arranged for a mentor in the form of the local councilor for health and disability issues, Sylvie Noclercq. Confident in Laloux’s promise, he told Reuters: “The disability she has, the force of her character, the ideas she has, will make us think differently.”

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