Project UNIFY® engages young people

Project UNIFY® creates a respectful and inclusive community through the power of sport.

Project UNIFY®

Project Unify Unified Basketball Clinic in Serbia.

Project UNIFY® is all about creating a respectful and inclusive community using sport as a platform.Youth engage in sports, youth leadership and volunteering.

Project UNIFY® was started in the US in 2007 and is piloted in Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) 2011-2013 with the generous support of the Ray and Stephanie Lane Foundation. Pilot Program Countries are Romania, Serbia, Italy and Austria.

Project UNIFY® activates young people in order to create an inclusive community – fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics believes that through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and local communities.


Youth Activation Session Kragujevac, April 21st 2012 involving 26 participants.

A Youth Activation Event was organized in the city of Kragujevac, with a positive response. The event was held in the special school “Vukasin Markovic”. Youth leaders from Special Olympics Serbia shared their experiences of youth activism. This event saw 36 new youth activists to Project Unify in Special Olympics Serbia.

Ivan Cirkovic, student from Special School “Vukasin Markovic” said: “I like Project Unify, now I will have more friends, for who I know will help me to change my society. It is very empowering to hear how we can bring about change. I can’t wait for more events and opportunities for us to interact together.”


Alessio Paro shooting a basket!

Special Olympics Athlete 25 year old Alessio Paro, from Meda, Italy.

“Being part of a team is like feeling both primary and secondary. Primary because a team needs all its team-mates to compete against others, but secondary as it’s not only you against the other teams, but the whole team against the other

I started playing Unified basketball due to a project between my Special Olympics team Noivoiloro and the basketball team Basket Senna. The first training I was focused on understanding what I should do, but I realized soon that speaking with the others was enough to break the tension."



Project UNIFY Regional Youth Summit, Romania.

Special Olympics Romania organized the first Project UNIFY Regional Youth Summit on May 16th. The Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee hosted the event. Olympic Champion Laura Badea delivered the welcome speech and expressed her support and encouragement for the participants. 60 Youth Leaders from 5 areas - Bucharest, Pitesti, Ploiesti, Peris and Topoloveni - and 20 teachers took part.


Third Regional Youth Unified Sports Swimming Competition, Graz, Austria.

On April 20th 2012 the third Unified Swimming Competition took place at Eggenberg´s indoor pool in cooperation with the Association BISI - “Bildungsinitiative für Sport und Inklusion” - the State education authority of Styria and Special Olympics Österreich promoting Project UNIFY.  Various school teams took part in the competition, where at least half of each team were people with special needs.

64 pupils of five different schools were part of the competition: Primary school “Neudau”, NMS “Leibnitz”, NMS St. Peter Graz, NMS Karlsdorf as well as NMS Albert Schweitzer Graz. There were two competitions: single competition (25 m Freestyle) and team relay competition. For the single competitions the pupils were categorized into 12 levels. Six pupils from each school were taken for the school team ranking.