Special Olympics Caribbean partners with Aruna Oswal TrustMonday, November 29, 2021
Programmes under Special Olympics (SO) Caribbean Initiative recently received a major boost with the announcement of a partnership inked with the Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust and the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
The commitment is worth a combined US$200,000 for three years. The funding will help programmes throughout the region — many of which are critically under-resourced — to invest in athletes' development and health wellness and to support their participation in upcoming events.
Thirteen Caribbean programmes are to compete at the 2022 United States Games in Florida, while two are down to feature at the Unified Football Cup in Michigan, also scheduled for next year. The Special Olympics Caribbean Open Water Swim/Beach Games/Triathlon is to be held in Curacao in late 2022.
The World Winter Games, delayed because of COVID-19-forced postponements, is set to be held in Russia in early 2023, followed sharply by the Summer Games in Germany in the same year.
“I am profoundly honoured and deeply humbled by the decision to partner with Special Olympics Caribbean Initiative,” Lorna Bell, the executive director of SO Caribbean Initiative, said at the launch on Tuesday.
“Special Olympics is a specific community founded on the principle of the value of sports and health for the development of persons with intellectual disability.
“Before COVID, we had over 14,000 persons with intellectual disability registered in the Caribbean. This partnership is very timely — it will help us to build on what we have started,” Bell explained.
The Aruna Oswal Trust, which is based in India, has been a partner of Lions Clubs International for several years. The trust has a history of working for the cause and care of underprivileged sections of the society, thereby nurturing and improving the quality of those people's lives.
The global Special Olympics movement has a long-standing relationship with Lions Clubs International. The Lions foundation, one of the most recognised philanthropic organisations, aims to create inclusive communities around the world through service.
Aruna Oswal, past international director of Lions Clubs International and trustee of the Lions Clubs International Foundation, reaffirmed the calls for unity and inclusion, while adding it is “remarkable how we can change lives for the better together“.
KaSondra Byrd, Global Grants Division for Lions Clubs International Foundation, welcomed the partnership, which underlines the commitment of all the parties involved.
In a recorded video aired during the launch, Mary Davis, the Special Olympics International chief executive officer, lauded the “life-changing and life-saving” support from the Lions foundation and the Aruna Oswal Trust.
Tony Wyllie, the president and managing director of Special Olympics North America, which includes the Caribbean, said the Aruna Oswal Trust is “making history in the region” by partnering with regional movement. He said that despite the challenges brought on, especially by the novel coronavirus over the past 18 months, the movement has proven to be “resilient” and “strong”.
Special Olympics is an international movement that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The intellectual disabilities can either be acquired or genetic, and can include cases of cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, autism, and traumatic brain injury.
— Sanjay Myers