Changing Minds about People with Disabilities

Abdou and Moussa are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Senegal who are committed to changing minds on intellectual disabilities in their community. Through their Youth Innovation Project, Abdou and Moussa will use sport and education to create change for inclusion.


Abdou and Moussa have designed three phases to their project. First, they will organize and host Unified Sports competitions, including football (soccer), basketball and athletics (track and field). Then, following these competitions, Abdou and Moussa will host an educational forum to increase awareness and understanding of intellectual disability in the community. Finally, Adbou and Moussa plan to develop a travelling exhibition on inclusion and intellectual disability to bring to other communities. These three activities will contribute to the visibility of Special Olympics athletes as well as provide opportunities to explain intellectual disability to others in Senegal.


Adbou says that the most exciting part of the project for him is that he “will be a part of actions for inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities” and that he “will be acting for changing the minds of the society,” while Moussa is most looking forwarding to having “activities with other teenagers.”


While Adbou and Moussa work toward changing perception of intellectual disability in the minds of their community in Senegal, they feel strongly about being a part of the global Unified Generation. Adbou says that “being part of the Unified Generation is an accomplishment, an honor,” and Moussa hopes that their Youth Innovation Project will have a directly positive impact on people with intellectual disability. He says that because of the projects developed by other Special Olympics youth leaders around the world, “the Unified Generation will care about us.”