At the beginning of October, teams from 9 country partners in the project “Inclusion through sports for children with developmental disabilities“, gathered in Reykjavik, Iceland, to share knowledge and best practices in the development of sports activities for people with developmental disabilities.
During the visit, #TeamMotivation together with Special Olympics Romania, SO Slovakia, SO Lithuania, SO Bosnia and Herzegovina, SO Montenegro, SO Europe Eurasia and the University of Poznan visited Special Olympics Iceland, as well as other institutions whose main mission is the inclusion of people with disabilities: The National Olympics & Sport Federation Iceland – https://www.isi.is/english/ , National Youth Association-Sports for all – https://umfi.is/ , at Iceland’s National Federation for people with ID – https://www.throskahjalp.is/is/english, at the Special School (Klettaskoli – https://reykjavik.is/en/klettaskoli ).
”Special Olympics Iceland presented their program, how they care and play sports with intellectually disabled athletes. At the conference, participating countries exchanged experiences on what works and what does not work in their countries. We learned a lot and were inspired. The conference also included tours of sports grounds and various facilities. We participated in basketball training for children with ID, as well as trainings for seniors. We visited a special school as well as housing for the elderly with intellectual disabilities. Many thanks to Special Olympics Iceland and Special Olympics Europe Eurasia for their hospitality and great organization,” said Veronika Sedláčková – project manager on behalf of Special Olympics Slovakia.
Our hosts, Special Olympics Iceland, organized a very interesting visit to the only sports base owned by a club for people with disabilities (https://ifr.is/ ), and our colleagues from the project were also able to see one of the young people’s training with and without disabilities from Club Haukar SO basketball club – Haukar Hafnarfjörður.
“I met coaches from partner countries and exchanged training methods. I was impressed by the services offered by medical and non-medical/sports associations and foundations to people with disabilities. The fact that they are located in the same building facilitates the diagnosis and the recovery processes. Colleagues from Poland scientifically presented the partial results of the project. I absorbed into this valuable information and it inspired me to collaborate and get involved in the statistical analysis of the data obtained through the implementation of the project. It is a wonderful opportunity and a possibility to have as a result useful and updated questionnaires according to the needs of people with disabilities,” said Eniko Papp, physiotherapist trainer at CSEI no. 2 Târgu Mureș.
A unique visit for all those who participated in this experience exchange was to the ecological village Sólheimar (https://stayinsolheimar.is/), where about 100 people live and work, some of them disabled people.
”All of us at SO Iceland want to thank our guests for visiting us. We were happy to be able to welcome the group to Iceland. The project has given new opportunities to athletes in all the countries, as well as the chance for all participants to experience friendship and good spirit.”, said Anna Karólína Vilhjálmsdóttir, executive director of Special Olympics in Iceland.
”This consortium has worked tirelessly for three years and it’s been a privilege seeing all partners come together at this final meeting in Iceland. Not only were we received with open arms in this beautiful country, but I firmly believe that the discussions that surged and the collective feedback gathered form a strong starting point from which Special Olympics can now look at the future. The share of knowledge and the open collaboration with expert partners like Motivation Romania together with the support of the EEA and Norway Grants brought about key improvements that we hope will build a strong legacy in our movement both locally and internationally and, ultimately, will change the lives of children with disabilities all across Europe Eurasia.”, Communications and Marketing Manager Special Olympics.
We thank the hosts, to Special Olympics Iceland, as well as the representatives of the project partners for all the things shared and for the important results recorded in the project.
We are glad that, at the end of this project, we had the opportunity to meet in person with all our partners. Together with them, we worked remotely to organize, for 3 years, joint activities for the benefit of children with developmental disabilities in five participating countries, and SO Iceland and SO Europe & Eurasia Foundation provided expertise and support to increase the capacity of partners in the Special Olympics movement.
*The project “Inclusion through sports for children with developmental disabilities” is financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation. The project is coordinated and managed by Motivation Romania Foundation in partnership with Special Olympics (SO) Romania, SO Iceland, SO Slovakia, SO Bosnia and Herzegovina, SO Montenegro, SO Europe Eurasia Foundation and Poznan University of Physical Education.
Working together for an inclusive Europe!