The following post was written by Adama and Aissatou, two Special Olympics youth leaders from Senegal. The pair make it their mission to strengthen inclusion in their community. Check out how they #innovateforinclusion!
This program truly had an impact on athletes, parents, and guests. The athletes who organized this activity feel more confident and expressed that they wished to help change the world in various ways. They want to live in a world without discrimination where people unify and accept others. We have encouraged athletes and helped them through their struggles.
We encountered difficulties with equipment and travels. I was in Dakar so I traveled two times between Dakar and Ziguinchor. On my first travel, I organized the activity with Adama and gave invitations. On my second travel, I brought equipment to Dakar. Some authorities did not make it to the project. Still, we all share the belief that individuals with intellectual disabilities want to go to the same schools as their peers without intellectual disabilities and want to be treated the same. I learned so much from this project. I know that all youth can do extraordinary things if we just give them the opportunity to do so. With this project, we were able to promote inclusion through unified teams and kindness.
The 2018 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, theOffice of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.