Baltimore, Maryland - Two world-class organizations - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Special Olympics International (SOI) – have joined forces to help people with intellectual disabilities in developing countries gain access to services and interventions that will help them thrive." People with disabilities are among the most marginalized,
isolated and neglected populations in the world. They and their
families have not been adequately or proportionately represented in
development strategies, interventions, funding or goals. This
partnership will help address that urgent need," said Dr. Timothy
Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International.
Catholic Relief Services works in 91 countries providing
innovative solutions to address tough problems like poverty,
hunger, drought, disease and emergencies, reaching more than 100
million of the world's poorest people each year. It is
uniquely placed to help deliver services to people with
Special Olympics offers health services and health education to
people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Completing
more than 1.4 million free health screenings since Special Olympics
Healthy Athletes® began in 1997, as well as providing follow-up
care items such as fitting 2,000 hearing aids and supplying more
than 90,000 prescription eyeglasses, Special Olympics has grown to
become the largest global public health organization dedicated to
serving people with intellectual disabilities.
"Through this new partnership, we will strengthen health systems
to diagnose and address the needs of children with intellectual
disabilities. Communities play a key role in building access
and demand for services. We will work through our extensive
network of partners to engage communities to fight stigma, advocate
for services, and mobilize people with intellectual disabilities,"
said Carolyn Woo, CEO and President of CRS.
Activities will include integrating routine screenings for
intellectual disabilities into child health programs; teaching
community health workers to identify and refer children for
services; adopting inclusive approaches in CRS' existing education
and vocational training programs, and overcoming stigma with
information that will empower individuals and groups to advocate
for their own rights.