Many of these refugees came from communities with no real infrastructure or cultural integration for children or adults with intellectual disabilities. As Special Olympics worked to bring athletic opportunities to camps and welcome centers, they also found themselves offering early childhood development resources and programming for people with intellectual disabilities.
“That was what Thailand needed the most,” said David Evangelista, Regional President & Managing Director, Europe Eurasia. “And they didn’t offer Unified Sports, they offered inclusive ECD programming and family support. They were providing all sorts of health supplies, they were providing food, providing clothing, and it was about little children learning and finding gross motor skills.”
As the program blossomed beyond just sports, it became a global partnership with The UN Refugee Agency and is now a true “multi-thematic platform” offering “ECD programming for children, youth empowerment opportunities for youth of all abilities, sports, Family Health Education” and more.
Deogratis, a physical education teacher in Tanzania, uses Unified Sports to spread inclusion in his school community.2 Min Read
From Brussels to Nairobi and from Tuzla to Turin and beyond, the Special Olympics Unified with Refugees program continues to expand its reach in affording Special Olympics athletes and refugee youth alike the opportunity to come together and Play Unified.3 Min Read