Special Olympics Advisor and advocate for Unified with Refugees programme, Gerald Mballe has been shortlisted for the Integration of Refugees Through Sport Award (IRTS) Role Model Award. The winner for the Citizen’s Choice for IRTS will be determined by popular vote.
IRTS is an EU-supported award that rewards people and organizations who are committed to promoting the integration of refugees into the European communities through sports.
Gerald Mballe became involved with Special Olympics in 2015 when he arrived to Italy as a refugee from Cameroon. He found acceptance and a sense of purpose when he joined a Special Olympics Italy Unified football (soccer) club and even competed at the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi for the national team. Mballe has made numerous media appearances and travelled the world as a sought after speaker on the topic of the power of inclusion. In 2020, he became the first-ever Special Olympics Advisor for the Unified with Refugees programme.