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December 19, 2012 | Europe Eurasia: Italy

Friendship Builds a Bridge between Africa and Europe

By Filippo Inversi

Recently, I travelled to Senegal to help at a Healthy Athletes event there and brought my 13-year-old daughter Eleonora with me. But we were not the only ones to travel from Europe and attend. Elena is a 9-year-old girl with autism. Her father, Etienne, has been working in Italy during the last 22 years. They came to Senegal for a holiday, but heard that Special Olympics organized health programs in Dakar, so he left at dawn to arrive on time in the city. As an African child who grew up in Milan, a cold city in the North of Italy, Elena was a little bit disoriented, but then she heard my daughter and I speaking Italian. With this common connection, Elena immediately felt close to Eleonora and they spent the afternoon together. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to speak with Etienne, to explain Special Olympics and how to get in touch once back in Italy, so Special Olympics can continue helping Elena. This rendezvous shows how Special Olympics can unite people everywhere.

About Filippo Inversi : Filippo is a regional clinical advisor for Healthy Athletes for Special Olympics Europe-Eurasia.
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