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Africa

Special Olympics has 21 accredited programs addressing the needs of African people with an intellectual disability in the areas of sport, health, education and leadership. Special Olympics contributes significantly in addressing the correlation between disability and poverty, a key issue for the continent.

Our athletes in Africa helped strengthen the growth in the region. Learn More
A moment of NBA glory for a Special Olympics athlete from Senegal. Khody Kone
Special Olympics is a champion for people with ID in Africa Learn More
Lions Clubs help support health and fitness for our athletes. Learn More

Stories From Africa


March 19, 2015 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

World Winter Games 2017 Mascot Unveiled

By Suzanne Coogan

Lara and Luis - the winning design by Hanna Riebenbauer and Alexander Menzel, design students at the University of Applied Sciences in Styria.

The official Mascot for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 has been unveiled at a ceremony at Graz City Hall by Mayor of Graz Mr. Siegfried Nagl.View Story The official Mascot for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 has been unveiled at a ceremony at Graz City Hall by Mayor of Graz Mr. Siegfried Nagl. Designers from 10 countries submitted a total of 51 designs and a jury of 9 people including two Special Olympics athletes as well as a public vote selected the winning design. The winning Mascot-Lara and Luis-depicts two of Austria’s most celebrated animals, a deer and a badger, and is inspired by the Games slogan Heartbeat for the World. The two winning designers 23 yrs old Hanna Riebenbauer and Alexander Menzel, 26, are students of the University of Applied Sciences in Styria. Their design took two months to complete. “We wanted to take two animals that are dear to Austrian hearts and combine this with the meaning and spirit of Special Olympics. We hope that the World will take Special Olympics athletes to their hearts as well as Lara and Luis and celebrate the spirit and meaning of Special Olympics. We're really thrilled."

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager of Media and Public Awareness with Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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March 03, 2015 | Africa: Nigeria

Special Olympics Nigeria Athletes Input Council

By Adeola Olawale

Special Olympics Nigeria held its Athletes Leadership Programs ALPs – Athletes Input Council (AIC) at the program office in Maryland, Lagos on Wednesday 5th November, 2014. The Council meeting was attended by 5 athletes and 5 mentors.View Story Special Olympics Nigeria held its Athletes Leadership Programs ALPs – Athletes Input Council (AIC) at Special Olympics Nigeria Office, Maryland, Lagos on Wednesday 5th November, 2014. The Council meeting was attended by 5 athletes and 5 mentors. The Athletes Input Council provides a platform where Special Olympics athletes can let their opinions and ideas be known to the Board of Directors. This Council also allows the athletes participate and contribute towards important decisions that affect them and the program as a whole. The role, responsibilities of council members, uniqueness and mission of Special Olympics were highlighted and discussed. The athletes were informed that ALPs Input Council provides athletes opportunities to develop leadership skills, serve as volunteers, provide valuable input to the operation of Special Olympics, be role models for other athletes, and serve as ambassadors in the community The athletes/mentors discussed the Special Olympics Nigeria sports program and how to introduce new sport to a new program provided there is adequate FUNDING during the brainstorming session. The council members agreed to introduce football, because is the most popular. The council will source for funding to provide good sporting facilities for training, competitions, transportation, allowances for officials, catering, medicals and kits. Mr. Ayodele Joseph mentioned that he appreciated the uniqueness of Special Olympics because no fees are charged and there are equal opportunities for all athletes irrespective of their abilities. He thanked Special Olympics for creating an avenue for people with intellectual disabilities

About Adeola Olawale:Sports Manager for Special Olympics Nigeria
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December 17, 2014 | Africa: Kenya

Special Olympics and Lions Clubs Partner in Kenya, Charter First Champions Club in Africa

By Annemarie Hill

A new partnership between Lions Clubs International and Special Olympics will support health programming, family health education, Leo engagement in Unified Sports ® and will provide publicity for joint initiatives to help raise awareness.View Story A new partnership between Lions Clubs International and Special Olympics will support health programming, family health education, Leo engagement in Unified Sports ® and will provide publicity for joint initiatives to help raise awareness. The Lions Clubs International District 411A signed an official MoU with Special Olympics in the presence of First lnternational Vice President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada in September. Dr. Yamada also received the Charter Application form of the Friends of Special Olympics Kenya Champions Lions Club, the 1st Champions Lions Club in Africa. The club is dedicated to supporting and raising funds for Special Olympics Kenya. This new club is the 12th Champions Lions Club worldwide. The signing took place after an Opening Eyes screening in which 32 Special Olympics athletes had their vision tested and received prescription lenses and medication. The event was supported by numerous Lions and Leos - a clear indication of the tremendous support to come from the Lions and Leos of Kenya as the partnership kicks off!

About Annemarie Hill:I am the Director of Global Development and Government Relations for Special Olympics.
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December 15, 2014 | Africa: Malawi

A Legacy of the African Leaders Forum: Vision Care for Malawi

By Annemarie Hill

As a legacy of the 2014 African Leaders Forum on Disability, Special Olympics, together with the Lions Clubs International Foundation, conducted a national Opening Eyes training seminar to strengthen professional knowledge and practice in providing quality vision care to people with ID.View Story As a legacy of the 2014 African Leaders Forum on Disability, Special Olympics, together with the Lions Clubs International Foundation, conducted a national Opening Eyes training seminar to strengthen professional knowledge and practice in providing quality vision care to people with ID. Special Olympics Malawi, Special Olympics Africa and Global Clinical Advisor Dr. Sandy Block, conducted a three day seminar series at the Mzuzu University Department of Optometry. The training attracted 59 delegates and included full day didactic sessions as well as examinations. The screening was well publicized, giving much needed awareness to the important role that healthcare professionals play in the development of individuals with ID. Direct engagement with the Mzuzu University’s Department of Optometry will be sustained through a generous grant by Optometry Giving Sight, which is dedicated to empowering vision care professionals to care for those most in need in communities throughout the world.

About Annemarie Hill:I am the Director of Global Development and Government Relations at Special Olympics.
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December 15, 2014 | Africa: Zimbabwe

African Disability Roundtable Raises 25 Lilongwe Declaration Signatories

By Annemarie Hill

The Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability served as a highlight of the recent 2nd Continental Disability Roundtable Meeting, an initiative hosted and organized by the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, in partnership with the Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) and various disability organizations.View Story The Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability served as a highlight of the recent 2nd Continental Disability Roundtable Meeting, an initiative hosted and organized by the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, in partnership with the Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) and various disability organizations. The conference highlighted the need to mainstream disability programming across all government policy. The ADA and Special Olympics share a partnership that works to strengthen policies on disability. As participants in the 2014 African Leaders Forum on Disability, the ADA and Special Olympics secured some 25 organizational signatories to the first-ever Lilongwe Declaration on ID, a landmark document sanctioned by the Republic of Malawi to take concerted action to support individual with ID. As a result of this commitment, the ADA intends to promote the inclusion of people with ID in national and international development goals, strategies, funding and interventions, through active participation.

About Annemarie Hill:I am the Director of Global Development and Government Relations at Special Olympics.
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Special Olympics Blog

Jean Vanier, a prophet of humility and simplicity, wins!

Today, the Templeton Foundation gave its most prestigious award to my hero, Jean Vanier.  For Linda and our children and me, he has also been our retreat leader, our teacher of humility, our guide. 

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Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

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