Youth Initiative Toward Inclusion
Yokutkhon and Valeriy are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Uzbekistan who are looking forward to “initiating establishment of a youth department within Special Olympics Uzbekistan” through their Youth Innovation Project. This youth department “will be governed by the young athlete-leaders with the support of Special Olympics Uzbekistan staff and will involve young athletes and volunteers who will take part in decision-making within projects related to development of Unified Sports.”
In leading their project, Yokutkhon and Valeriy intend to work closely with “local authorities, teachers, coaches, Special Olympics staff, community member and others” to host a meeting “to attract the public attention and raise awareness of Special Olympics and the benefits of Unified Sports” as well as “to share best practices of the already existing Unified Schools and clubs.” Yokutkhon and Valeriy aim to involve leaders from across their entire community in Uzbekistan. They hope that this first established partnership with youth in Uzbekistan will set up a relationship that will continue for years to come. Youth with and without intellectual disabilities “will take active part in organization of the project events” and social media will strengthen public awareness of the project.
Yokutkhon was inspired to start this project by the abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities, adding that his main inspiration is “special athletes and Special Olympics, which gave [him] the opportunity to be a volunteer and active participant of trainings and other activities.”
Yokutkhon and Valeriy believe that their “direct participation in planning and implementation of this Project makes them believe in their skills and abilities to change the situation” of people with intellectual disabilities as part of the Unified Generation. They hope to create a positive change in their society and Uzbekistan as a whole.