The following post was written by Anniah, a Special Olympics Youth Leader from Zimbabwe. She makes it her mission to strengthen inclusion in her community. Check out how she #innovateforinclusion!
Our project was a great opportunity for us to give back to the community and it made us to see the world in different light. This project helped us see that as young people we can put aside discrimination and stigma. It was inspiring to see smiles on people’s faces because they really enjoyed our project.
We believe we achieved our main goal of spreading awareness about Special Olympics and promoting inclusion through sport. During our event we made sure there were partners and athletes in all of our activities and that no one ever dominated the game. When we came up with this idea to make a project we wanted young people to have fun doing sports while also showing each other that there are many types of intelligence, just like in Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. To us this means that disability doesn’t mean inability and that we all have something that we can bring to the table.
To make this project possible we had to make connections with different people, including sponsors, service providers, participants, and coaches. This project helped us develop good communication skills since we had to make phone calls and send emails to individuals who were helping us with our project.
In our Boccie game we used the development model we learned to promote the development of the athlete first. This way, the participants were first taught how to play Boccie and then they were able to compete. We also made sure that all of the participants were aware of the rules and regulations before they started playing.
Our Unified Sports Day project made us work on our communication skills and taught us how to multitask since we are in school learning how to make time for our project. This project made us think outside the box and see life in a different way because we had to put in the same hard work which goes into each and every event that takes place in Special Olympics Zimbabwe. During the event we received good responses from almost each and every person who came to the event. We were very happy to receive this feedback because this was what we were aiming for: making sports fun for our participants because the joy of our participants comes first and we come second. The other goal that we achieved was rewarding and motivating good behavior among participants. The participants who came in first place were given prizes as a token of appreciation for taking part in the project. As for the results, Kambuzuma High came first in Volleyball, Home Fields came first in Soccer, and Hallel Guri and Rutendo Ndoku came first in Boccie.
The 2018–2019 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Kantar Group, the Microsoft Corporation, Lane Global Youth Leadership, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.