Special Olympics Bharat receives grant from Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for promotion of inclusivity

Delhi-based Special Olympics Bharat, a National Sports Federation accredited by Special Olympics Inc. to conduct sports and development programs all over India, on International Youth Day 2020 announced a new impetus for inclusion of for young people with and without intellectual disabilities in education, after receiving a grant received from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
 
The 4-year project will play a critical role in creating 120 Unified Champion Schools across 12 states.
 
Young People with intellectual disabilities are among those most underserved by education systems globally. Of the 65 million primary school-age children who are out of school around the world, nearly half have disabilities. Even of those students that do achieve access, some estimate that less than 5% of children with disabilities complete school.
 
Building on over a decade of success of Unified Champion Schools (UCS) in the United States and growing impact in more than fifty other countries around the world, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has committed $25 million on behalf of the people of the UAE in order to expand this initiative to six countries – Argentina, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Romania, and Rwanda. Special Olympics Bharat will lead the growth of UCS in India, empowering young leaders to create lasting social change through inclusion in education for people with and without intellectual disabilities. The announcement of the grant was made at a virtual event, graced by  Ambassador of the UAE to India Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Albanna. Other attendees included President and  Managing Director of Special Olympics Asia Pacific Region Mr. Dipak Natali, Founder and CEO of Special Olympics Bharat Air Marshal Keelor, Chairman of Special Olympics Bharat Mr. Satish Pillai, Chairperson of Special Olympics Pakistan Ms. Raunak Lakhani, Dean of Physical Education Department of Amity University Dr Kalpana Sharma and General Secretary of Special Olympics Bharat Dr Amitav Mishra.

 In addition to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s gift, the UAE has committed to bringing UCS programming to all of it’s public schools in the coming years, making the UAE the world’s only country to make such a commitment at the national level. The accelerated growth of this grassroots initiative within the UAE and around the world will further establish the legacy of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, the first Special Olympics World Games hosted in the Middle East and North Africa region, and have a lasting, positive impact on UAE society.
“The Special Olympics movement is being led by young leaders with and without intellectual disabilities who are emerging as the world’s greatest teachers of empathy, dignity, courage, and inclusion,”said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International.