Growing the Unified Generation in Burkina Faso
Franck and Kouka are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Burkina Faso leading a Youth Innovation Project to fight discrimination against individuals with intellectual disabilities in their country by promoting inclusive youth leadership and growing Unified Schools. In September 2018, Franck and Kouka participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Leadership Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan and learned how to enhance the impact of their youth leadership and establish a plan to execute their project at home in Burkina Faso.
In the past, Franck and Kouka have seen how people with intellectual disabilities are viewed with a “bad eye,” and they are committed to changing the stigma in their home country. To do this, Franck and Kouka plan to expand the Unified Schools initiative in Burkina Faso and recruit more youth with and without intellectual disabilities to participate in Unified Sports. They believe that youth of all abilities can learn, live, and play together to make their schools and communities more inclusive. Throughout this project, teams of Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners will be established in a variety of sports so that the youth participants can continue to compete and train together after the project has finished. In addition to bringing people together through sports, Franck and Kouka also aim to develop the leadership abilities of local youth with and without intellectual disabilities through inclusive youth leadership training and workshops.
Through the leadership of Franck and Kouka, the Unified Generation is continuing to grow in number and impact – in Burkina Faso and around the world.