In Senegal, Special Olympics athletes and volunteers are leading efforts to widen understanding of health and hygiene. This work is crucial, especially in the continuing fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For example, athlete leaders have been conducting handwashing workshops and distributing hand sanitizing gels; some athletes even produced awareness videos on handwashing.
One athlete, Nfally Niassy, who used to be shy, has become a health leader, thanks to a Youth Innovation project he led during the pandemic. The football and track athlete now visits with people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and their families, reminding everyone how to protect themselves from COVID-19. He also encourages them to be active, do physical activities, and follow a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Special Olympics youth leaders, like Aminata Sy, have also been helping with the distribution of masks and sanitizing gels. She has also been publicly advocating for people with ID, reminding all that they have the same rights as others: the right to health and, the right to medical care without discrimination.
In addition, athletes and volunteers have been working on feminine hygiene education, which is so important for the health and wellness of athletes. This awareness training has been a great success. Athletes, Unified partners and family members participate in each workshop. They share their experiences and tips. The workshop leaders distribute sanitary items as well.
Today, it’s clear that the training sessions have had a huge impact. Female athletes have gained new knowledge about feminine hygiene, and are better able to take care of themselves more independently. A followup survey revealed that the athletes also helped raise awareness within their families, as they shared their new knowledge!
This important work is supported by our partner, Speak Up Africa.