The ties that bind: Pakistan Family Support Network Seminar
June 04, 2012
“Families need to be encouraged and supported to help our athletes achieve success in all walks of life,” says Mrs. Ronak Lakhani, General Secretary for Special Olympics Pakistan.
Familial Support Vital
Started with 30 families in 2007, Special Olympics Pakistan Family Support Network (FSN) today boasts a tight knit group of 150 families. The FSN hosted a an information and dialogue seminar for 40 families from local institutions, in early May. Institutions included Aghosh Special School, Imran Rehabilitation Centre, Agosh Special Children School and PNAD (Mauripur).
Connecting existing Special Olympics families with new families of an individual with an intellectual disability and providing support and information in a critical time of need, is at the core of FSN’s work. The event was an opportunity to share common interests and ideas in a welcoming, safe environment. After joining family members have the chance to be further involved with Special Olympics, either as volunteers, coaches or advocates.
The Network is a constant source of support at Special Olympics Pakistan's events.
A Cohesive Unit
These incredible supporters are deeply involved in sports trainings and competitions, from logistical help at the events to cheering in the stands for their athletes. They meet monthly to discuss issues concerning families and athletes and organize picnics for members.
The group also looks after the health and well being of its athletes. There are regular clinic sessions ranging from medical issues, to physical fitness and nutrition, to emotional well-being. The athletes also may attend grooming and speech therapy sessions
In the longer-term, FSN is reaching out to athletes and families at the local level to form new networks and have begun coordinating the Young Athletes program targeting 2-7 year-old children. Plus, Mrs. Lakhani says that an annual National FSN Summit is in the works.
The group’s prolific activities are a result of a grant from Mattel, plus local donations to Special Olympics Pakistan.
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