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March 24, 2014 |

USAID-supported project leads to attitude change through Unified Sports in Serbia

By Martha Jo Braycich

Male and female Unified Basketball teams from Leskovac, one of the participating communities in the USAID-supported project

The USAID-supported “Inclusion for All” project was successfully completed in Serbia at the end of February 2014. The 18-month project served as a platform to educate communities about the abilities of persons with intellectual disabilities. The program also encouraged the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities into mainstream schools through youth outreach. This resulted in 24 new youth Special Olympics Unified Sports teams being developed and following a comprehensive training and competition schedule. Among Unified players surveyed during the project 68% of Unified partners (those without intellectual disabilities) said their attitude toward persons with intellectual disabilities had changed for the better while 81% of Unified athletes (those with intellectual disabilities) indicated that they felt more accepted. One hundred percent of the Unified players indicated that they want to continue to be part of a Unified Sports team in the future.

About Martha Jo Braycich: Martha Jo Braycich is Director, Organizational Development, Foundations and Public Institutions, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia and was the Special Olympics project manager for the Inclusion for All project.

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