Reducing Stigma through Community Engagement

Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Benin who participated in the 2019 Special Olympics Africa Family and Sibling Workshop. Together, Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald will lead a Youth Innovation Project to establish new Unified Schools and Unified Champion Schools, engage new Youth Leaders, and enhance family engagement in existing Special Olympics programming. Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald strongly believe that awareness, education, and inclusion will go a long way to increase support for youth with intellectual disabilities and their families in Benin.  


Over the course of six months, Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald aim to reduce the stigma around intellectual disabilities by organizing a forum to educate parents and families on the best ways to support youth with intellectual disabilities. The friendships formed through the forum can serve as a support network for years to come. Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald will start with a grassroots effort, canvasing their local community to educate parents and families about the needs of children with intellectual disabilities. Senami Maurice and Fabrice Oswald hope to gain the support of athletes, parents, local authorities, and respected community members to expand programming at two Unified Schools, identify one new Unified Champion School, engage 50 Special Olympics athletes, and mobilize new Youth Leaders to join the Unified Generation.