On the 8th of May Special Olympics Assistant Manager for Program Development and Sports for the Africa Region, Ms. Ester Kambala, was offered the opportunity to speak at Children's Parliament to educate young parliamentarians and their older counterparts about intellectual disability and to introduce them to Special Olympics. She was accompanied by Deon Namiseb, a Special Global Ambassador, local Namibian artist and Special Olympics Ambassador Sonny Boy and Elvira Goagoses, a Special Olympics Youth Leader.
The group spoke on intellectual disability and Special Olympics with an emphasis on youth activation and involvement. This generated a great deal of interest among the parliament members.
Deon touched many as he spoke passionately about the way Special Olympics has changed his life; he concluded by encouraging the parliamentarians to lobby for the rights of people with intellectual disability.
Elvira posed the following question to the floor saying, “Do you think I have a disability just by looking at me?” The house in unison agreed by shouting NO!
She went on to say.” I do have an intellectual disability but that is not who I am, I am able to do everything but just a bit slower.”
In conclusion Sonny Boy invited the parliamentarians to sign the Special Olympics Namibia Banner of Hope as a pledge to end stereotyping, bullying and injustice against people living with intellectual disability. A total of 60 members signed the banner and declared that they want to take SO Namibia on as a project in their regions. They were very impressed with the SOGII curriculum and asked if they could all receive a copy to implement in their schools.
One parliamentarian stood up and pledged financial support towards the work that Special Olympics Namibia is doing.
About Tsholofelo Mashuga: Marketing,communications and media intern for Africa