With bright colors, engaging graphics, and a smooth design, Special Olympics Argentina’s first issue of its digital magazine is an enjoyable read. The content is also impressive—different sections describe the Program’s activities and local partnerships—and the issue concludes with an interview.
Launched in December of 2021, the magazine’s goal is to break down misconceptions of individuals with intellectual disabilities and share their accomplishments. Special Olympics Argentina is already leading by example—the authors of each magazine are Special Olympics athlete leaders.
17 athlete leaders will create a new edition of the magazine every three months. The team is supervised by Ana, the Director of Innovative Programs for Special Olympics Argentina, and Pablo, a longtime athlete leader and journalist.
Ana is the content coordinator of the magazine and Pablo is the journalistic director. They’ve been colleagues since 2006, and their shared passion for Special Olympics and Pablo’s contagious sense of humor have kept them close friends. They’re both excited to amplify the voices of the Special Olympics athletes across Argentina.
During the creation process, athlete leaders choose the magazine topic, organize interviews, collect pictures, and decide on the design. Though each athlete leader may have a different responsibility, everyone contributes an equal amount.
Ana makes sure not to get involved in editing the message. She thinks it’s important to keep the voice authentic.
“This is what the athlete leaders think and have been working on…the purpose of this magazine is to show Argentina, the region, and the world [what] people with intellectual disabilities think about and they are capable of so many different things,” said Ana.
Special Olympics Argentina shares the magazine with its supporters, but the digital format also makes it simple to share across media platforms. Ana and Pablo hope the project can reach a wider audience and have new supporters, schools, and partners want to join Special Olympics.
Pablo said the magazine is important because it can spread awareness and educate others.
“This magazine is important to show people with and without intellectual disabilities our stories, and it can help people get closer to the organization [Special Olympics],” said Pablo. “Even though the main program of Special Olympics is sports, our work is much more than that.”
Pablo also said the magazine is an opportunity to inspire other Special Olympics athletes around the world.
“People can know that in one specific country, such as Argentina, we are making a magazine with athletes that have the knowledge and skills to develop this tool,” said Pablo. “This supports the Program and changes the perspective of intellectual disabilities,” he said.
The next edition will focus on Unified Champion Schools, an important part of a Special Olympics project funded by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (MBZ). The team will share stories of Unified Sports, inclusive leadership, and whole school engagement. Both Ana and Pablo are excited to have young people participate in the magazine. For future topics, Pablo wants people without intellectual disabilities to tell their stories of working with Special Olympics. Ana hopes to have youth from different parts of the country serve as regional correspondents.
Lastly, Ana and Pablo want the magazine to show that people with intellectual disabilities can lead their own projects. “This magazine is just a sample of what athletes can do if they receive the right support,” said Ana.