'I've done it, I'm finally a weather girl'
A YOUNG woman with Down syndrome has achieved her dream of reading the weather on the nightly news.
French public broadcaster France 2 handed over weather broadcasting duties to 21-year-old Melanie Segard on Tuesday evening.
It was the culmination of a Facebook campaign called "Melanie peut le faire", translated as "Melanie can do it". About 200,000 people signed up to the page created by French charity Unapei ahead of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21.
More than five million people learned that France would be divided in half, with clouds in the north and sun in the south, courtesy of Ms Segard. The bulletin broke ratings records in France.
Ms Segard was given four days of training with France 2 to polish her technique and to ensure she was comfortable presenting against the green screen the weather map is later projected onto.
"Melanie cannot read or write. The goal is to make her feel integrated," Nathalie Rihouet, head of the France 2 weather service told newspaper Le Parisien.
She teamed up with France 2's regular weather forecaster, Anais Baydemir, who was clearly chuffed at Ms Segard's performance with the two high fiving as the bulletin concluded.
In 2013, 19-year-old Laura Hayoun, who also has Down syndrome, presented the headlines on French news channel BFMTV.
After the broadcast, Ms Segard said she was over the moon at her achievement.
"That's it, I've done it, I'm finally a weather girl," she tweeted. "I am different, but I can do lots of things."