In an effort to commemorate the 2016 Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Day, Special Olympics Nigeria yesterday organised a Healthy Communities initiative (HC) at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The Healthy Communities initiative is meant to create communities where Special Olympics athletes and others with intellectual disability have the same access to health and wellness resources and can attain the same level of good health as all community members. The theme of this year’s Healthy Communities initiative was “special smiles and opening eyes”.
The day was filled with activities including medical services such as free dental and visual screening for athletes and partners. Attendees invited took part in activities such as a table tennis, basketball, bouncing castles and food stands.
Speaking at the event, the National Director, Special Olympics Nigeria, Naomi Saliu-Lawal, expressed delight at the turn out of participants at this year’s event.
She noted that “every year we at Special Olympics Nigeria make out time to celebrate this day. It is an important day for Special Olympics Nigeria because it offers an opportunity for us to share in the spirit and belief of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her commitment to engaging intellectually challenged persons through the power of sports. By committing acts of inclusion, acceptance and unity for and with people with intellectual disabilities, we will continue to build on Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s legacy”
Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Day is an annual celebration of her life and a global call challenging everyone to Play Unified, Speak Unified, and Live Unified. On this 7th annual EKS day, themed #playunified, Special Olympics Nigeria enjoins all to play unified and teach the world to live unified by bringing together people with and without intellectual disabilities in various activities to honor the inspiration, impact and indomitable spirit of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
She demonstrated an unrelenting indomitable spirit in action, that one person could make a difference and change the world. Her lasting legacy and commitment to improve and transform the lives of the nearly 200 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities who still live with diminished opportunities and social disrespect, and are often neglected and hidden away is celebrated yearly.
Special Olympics Nigeria is part of a worldwide movement (Special Olympics international) that is aimed at changing the misconceptions individuals have about people with intellectual disabilities (PWID). Its mission is to provide various sport trainings and athletics competitions in a variety of Olympic – type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing continuous opportunities to develop physical fitness and skills required to manage day to day life.
While over 5.3 million Special Olympics athletes and millions of coaches, families, fans and friends live her legacy and lead our movement every day, the organisation unites on Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day in over 170 countries and thousands of communities to show the world the power of unity to create opportunities of acceptance.