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June 11, 2013 | Europe Eurasia: Kazakhstan

SO Kazakhstan 'Creating Inclusive Communities for Children with Intellectual Disabilities'

By Marie Merritt

SO Kazakhstan and UNICEF building inclusive communities through Unified Sports®.

In the eastern part of Kazakhstan, in the town of Semey, Special Olympics Unified Sports® experienced another first this week. Thanks to the support of UNICEF Kazakhstan, Special Olympics Kazakhstan hosted a first-ever 7-a-side football competition at Semey Regular School No. 9. The inclusive sports program is part of a joint initiative between Special Olympics Kazakhstan and UNICEF to foster inclusive development in the eastern portions of the country.

Six teams, approximately 50 athletes and Unified partners, took to the field for their first competition. The project aligns with UNICEF's State of the World's Children report, citing the need for increased programming for children with disabilities, and the powerful role that sport can play in breaking down barriers and forging social inclusion.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports program combining an equal number of Special Olympics athletes and partners on teams, promoting social inclusion through shared sport training and competition.

About Marie Merritt: I am the Senior Manager for Unified Sports at Special Olympics.
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