Going One Step Past Inclusion toward Unified
Special Olympics Youth Leaders Brightfield and Oteng aim to expand Unified programming in Botswana through their Youth Innovation Project by visiting inclusive schools and universities to “really teach them about Unified.” Brightfield and Oteng plan to spread the knowledge that “inclusive” does not necessarily mean “Unified” because they according to them, “children from mainstream schools may know that there are children in the schools with intellectual disabilities but may not want to play with them.” Brightfield and Oteng hope that by working with school heads, student leaders and their project mentor they can teach people with and without intellectual disabilities that all of us “belong to one human race and should therefore not discriminate.”
Ultimately, Brightfield and Oteng hope that they will form Unified Sports teams so that people with and without disabilities can “begin to play and do things together.” By traveling to “various centres to train and form teams” and visiting schools that may be inclusive but are not yet Unified, Brightfield and Oteng hope to bring awareness about people with intellectual disabilities to their community.
Brightfield and Oteng hope that after their Youth Innovation Project has concluded, “the Unified teams formed will continue to play together and thereby influence others who will be seeing teams.” But even further in the future, they hope that their project will eventually grow and “train athletes into doing other things beyond the sports field.” Not only will Brightfield and Oteng be advocating for Unified Sports in Botswana, but they “will also be advocating for companies to employ people with ID.”
Brightfield and Oteng believe that as part of the Unified Generation, they “are changing [the] world to be what it is meant to be and that is to be one people, where people are not distinguished by disability.”