Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lucy saw the difference the Special Olympics—UNICEF USA Partnership is making in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was sad to learn from the UNICEF country office in Bosnia and Herzegovina that 40% of parents of children without disabilities do not want their child to attend school with a child with a disability. Lucy believes that as the Partnership continues to grow in that country, these statistics will change.
Recife Brazil is considered “ground zero” for the Zika virus and Lucy spent time at the premier hospital assisting children with microcephaly. She told the mothers that their children were beautiful just the way that they are. The clinic doctor told Lucy that no one has ever said that about their children and that seeing how well she is doing with cerebral palsy gives them hope.
In 2016, Lucy traveled to Jamaica for to see the Special Olympics – UNICEF USA Partnership in action. She visited the remote areas of Jamaica. The Partnership is moving in to these areas to provide inclusive schools, medical services, and access to resources. The Partnership is helping children with disabilities by: (1) early childhood development programming; (2) encouraging family involvement of children with intellectual; and (3) development of inclusive sports. In 2017, these programs reached almost 1,000 people and 50 clinicians island-wide.
In 2018, UNICEF and Special Olympics launched a one-year project to empower over 400 children with and without disabilities in four districts in Uganda. Working closely with the District Education offices and Kyambogo University, UNICEF and Special Olympics are providing equal access to social and educational opportunities for children with disabilities through sports within schools and communities. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend school and, as a result, miss out on many sports and recreation activities that are provided through the school system. Many children, especially those with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities, drop out of school because the system does not have ways of supporting them. This project addresses this gap and includes several activities designed to strengthen sports programming and coaching to expand opportunities for children with disabilities within their communities.
The activities supported by this partnership promote social inclusion, increase access to education and, ultimately, provide hope for the thousands of children with disabilities in Montenegro who are at risk of being left behind. In 2017, UNICEF and Special Olympics implemented the Young Athletes Program in several preschools in Montenegro. The program is designed to engage children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 3-8, in developmentally appropriate play activities that aim to foster physical, cognitive and social development.
In 2016, 250 new young athletes participated in Special Olympics – UNICEF USA programs; 40 athletes received health services, 200 children received screenings in five different disciplines, and 46 clinical and 30 non-clinical volunteers participated throughout. Additionally, the Family Health Forum took place in Peru with a total attendance of 168 family members, 42 athletes and 32 teachers.
In 2016, the Special Olympics – UNICEF USA Partnership executed a healthy athletes event to provide health screenings to 400 athletes in five different disciplines. During the event, 1,790 screenings were achieved and 206 clinical and 70 non-clinical volunteers participated in the event. Two Family Health Forums took place with a total attendance of 100 family members, 60 athletes and 10 individuals of external audience.
In 2016, a total of 80 athletes received health services during the healthy athletes event that took place in Asuncion and 104 clinical and 32 non-clinical volunteers helped conduct 240 health screenings in three difference disciplines. Also, two Family Health Forums took place in Paraguay, with a total attendance of 100 family members, 20 athletes and 30 individuals of external audience.
Children in Moldova participated in a Family health forum event in Moldova hosted by the Special Olympics and UNICEF. In 2017, the partnership was launched in Moldova – the first country-level collaboration in the Central Asian sub-region.
Special Olympics and UNICEF in Nicaragua have the goal of training at least 50 medical professionals from three clinical disciplines (medicine, vision care, oral health, etc.) and offering the opportunity to 250 children with and without intellectual disabilities to participate in Unified Sports programming to forge stronger social inclusion through sport.
Since 2016, Special Olympics Zambia and the UNICEF Zambia Country Office have shared a strong relationship, rooted in the provision of inclusive sports programming to youth with and without intellectual disabilities through the Unified Sports program. In late 2016, both organizations teamed up to conduct a high-profile Unified Sports tournament, coinciding with the International Day of Disability (3 December), and championed by the First Lady of the Republic- Her Excellency Mrs. Esther Lunga.