"Plan to Include": A Practical Way to Achieve Inclusion
Sara is a Special Olympics Youth Leader from Albania who believes “that change comes through innovation, and young people can change societal barriers for people with intellectual disability.” Sara hopes that she can reduce stigma around intellectual disability to encourage young minds to “understand the importance of Special Olympics in a postmodern, diverse society.” Through her Youth Innovation Project, Sara plans to actively include young people, teachers, parents, athletes and partners in her vision for a future of total social inclusion.
Sara’s project “Plan to Include” brings together innovative students, teachers and individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to create this future, beginning with Unified Sports in Albanian schools. Given that no practical sports manual for inclusive teams exists today in Albania, Sara plans to frame a set of guidelines and rules that not only match the needs of schools in Albania, but complement them. This manual will be available in public and private schools in Albania to be implemented any time after her project has concluded. This manual will serve as guide to people who want to be inclusive but simply do not know how, schools who hope to organize inclusive events, and communities that want to build an inclusive environment.
Sara’s inspiration for her project “is the diversity of the participants and the long lasting effects on community and individuals it is panned to have.” She describes how “planning to include people of all ages with and without intellectual disabilities, students, teachers, parents, athletes and making a step forwards in total human inclusion” motivates her to push herself with this massive step toward inclusion. Sara emphasizes that she is excited that her project “is not another awareness campaign, but a real step with a practical solution to encourage inclusion.”
To Sara, “being part of the Unified Generation is not a job, not a service, not something to be congratulated for. It’s basic human duty that everyone should be aware of. It is not up to individuals to exclude people based on their intellectual disability, or any other form or difference really, but it is up to every individual to create a peaceful environment for themselves and others around them. Being part of the Unified Generation means we come one step closer every day to a peaceful inclusive environment.”