Kenya will field the only female team from Africa during the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics scheduled for Chicago, USA from July 21 to 23.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing training and competitions to five million athletes and Unified States Sports partners in 172 countries.
To qualify for the Special Olympics, a person must be at least eight years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the special conditions.
Intellectual disabilities, cognitive delays, significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require specially designed instructions are among conditions categorised as special.
The Kenyan 7-aside team comprising eleven members is currently training in Taita under the tutelage of Nicholas Kai, a teacher at Konjora Primary School and well trained on Special Olympics Unified Sports.
Special Olympics Africa last week moved to incorporate the youth in creating awareness and acceptance of people with special needs in the continent.
“In Africa we have a hidden population that needs to be included in the community. We are targeting more unified sports activities to curb discrimination and I believe the inclusion of youth is the best way to go,” Special Olympics Africa president Charles Nyambe said at a workshop that hosted respective Special Olympics youth leaders and National Directors from Africa in South Africa.
In a bid to attain this SO Kenya has made a step to engage the youth as a way of empowering the young generation to lead a dignity revolution and change social norms besides creating a lifetime of acceptance, appreciation, and inclusion for people with differences.
Speaking during the Special Olympics Africa Regional Youth and Unified School Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, SO Kenya national director Susan Masila said the inclusion of the young generation in their activities will be a plus to building a unified generation.
“By drawing young peoples’ attention to the gifts of people with ID through sports and other activities, misperceptions are broken down, negative attitudes are tackled and their tremendous potential is highlighted.
The Special Olympics Global Youth Plan focuses on achieving these and as Kenya we want to work closely with the youth to achieve our goal. We can only tap on the energy, curiosity and openness of the youth to breed true transformation and build a unified generation,” said Susan.