October 17, 2012 | Africa: South Africa

Impacting Lives Beyond the Playing Field

By Karl Hejlik

More than 100 Special Olympics parents participated with their children in the Family Health Forum.

Health, nutrition, and the importance of staying physically active were just a few topics addressed at the Family Health Forum organized during the Africa Unity Cup earlier this month in South Africa. More than 100 Special Olympics parents and their children attended. Launched throughout Africa in 2011 with the help of long-time Healthy Athletes partner Lions Clubs International, Family Health Forums bring together community leaders, health experts, and development experts in providing increased access to invaluable education for families, distribution of preventative supplies and access to information often out of reach to families of children with disabilities. Offered across the world, these forums have been particularly effective in Africa, often attracting larger than expected crowds as parents have a great need and desire for information on developmental disabilities that is otherwise very difficult or impossible for them to access. “I’ve gathered more information that I never heard before," one parent said. "Socialising with different people and sharing experiences was very good.”

About Karl Hejlik: Senior Manager, Health and Research Communications, for SOI
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