To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Special Olympics Zambia and UNICEF held a Unified Sports Day entitled “Inclusive Sports, Inclusive Communities, Empowerment for All” at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Zambia.
The First Lady of Zambia, Esther Lungu, attended and made a personal donation of K15,000. Lungu said that the current discrimination against children with intellectual disabilities means they “have poor health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty. The world would be a better place if only [these] children can live out their dreams and contribute to society through their many talents.”
The work of Special Olympics Zambia, providing sports and health programming to over 4000 children, is powerful in a country where traditional beliefs and stigma can lead to people with intellectual disabilities remaining “hidden” and excluded from community life.