Heroes in Africa Region Share the Impact of Inclusion

A series of video interviews between youth leaders in Africa Region and their personal heroes showcase the best of inclusion across society, from the sports field to the classroom, the work place and even the performance stage.

Why do you #ChooseToInclude? That’s the question young change agents are asking their personal heroes across nine countries in Africa Region, in a weekly series entitled “Conversations With My Hero” running from October to December, 2020. During COVID-19, youth leaders in Africa Region were not shutting down but ramping up their efforts to build a Unified Generation—one that includes those with and without intellectual disabilities (ID).

Scroll down to watch the videos!

In Africa Region, the correlation between disability and poverty means that approximately 80 million people are living with disability in this part of the world, according to the United Nations. The World Report on Disability calls this the world’s most underprivileged minority: the “poorest of the poor”.

In the poorest countries, the percentage of children with ID who receive an education are as low as 1 to 3 percent. The lack of resources and understanding of their needs denies them an opportunity to join their peers in the class room, which in turn makes them less likely to join other activities in society – including opportunities in the work place.

Image reads: Conversations with my Hero with Kim Jayde and Valentino Vergotin; image of a man in a small circle and a woman in a larger circle followed by the Special Olympics logo.

This causes a negative stigma—cultural and religious beliefs can cause disability to be seen as a punishment as a result of sin or witchcraft. This breeds fear and isolation.

But heroes are speaking out. Successful across the fields of medicine, music, media, politics and business, they have a message that no one must be left behind.

Special Olympics youth leaders took this opportunity to hear their stories and share them with new audiences online. The line-up of speakers includes:

  1. Senegal – Musical artist and Special Olympics Senegal Ambassador Cheikh Diaw Diop is interviewed by Youth Leader Khadidiatou Niang
  2. Rwanda – Children and sports advocate Reverend Samuel H. Tumushime is interviewed by Youth Leader Patience Ntaganzwa
  3. Kenya – Author and Nigerian Goodwill Ambassador Dr Wale Akinyemi is interviewed by Athlete Leader Sammy Kamande
  4. Mauritius – Paralympic medal winner Noemie Alphonse interviewed by Athlete Leader Miguel Jeannot
  5. South Africa – Model, TV presenter and Special Olympics South Africa Ambassador Kim Jayde interviewed by Athlete Leader Valentino Vergotin
  6. South Africa – South African Football Legend and Special Olympics South Africa Ambassador Mark Fish interviewed by Athlete Leader Eltheo Maarman
  7. South Africa – Media personality and Special Olympics South Africa Ambassador Melanie Ramjee interviewed by Athlete Leader Shirnel Swarts
  8. Zambia – Multi-award winning hip hop artist and advocate Brian Bwembya aka B’Flow interviewed by Athlete Leader Daisy Nguni
  9. Nigeria – Sports media personality Femi Adefeso interviewed by Athlete Leader Romanus Isaiah
  10. Cote d’Ivoire – Medical doctor and Special Olympics Cote d'Ivoire volunteer VE Tia Ruffin interviewed by Unified pair – Athlete Leader Yann Christopher Beugre and commissioner Youth Leader Ange Roland M'Brah
  11. Ghana – Former police commissioner, pharmacist, business leader and Special Olympics Ghana Board Chair Augustine Kokukokor interviewed by Athlete Leader Isaac Quansah Otchere

Visit this page each week to see the latest video.

Two footballers with their arms around one another.
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Diaw Diop: Life is special | Conversations With My Hero
Musical artist and Special Olympics Senegal Ambassador Diaw Diop shares his story of inclusion with youth leader Khadidiatou Niang.