Singapore – To celebrate its 53rd anniversary and Global Week of Inclusion in July, Special Olympics Asia Pacific (SOAP), the non-profit sports organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities (ID), has launched a new campaign called ‘#WalkforInclusion’ – a virtual activation to promote inclusion and raise awareness and support for children across APAC.
Special Olympics provides health screenings to people with ID and supports more than 2.4 million athletes across 35 countries. It also promotes a life of inclusion, dignity, and respect for persons with intellectual disabilities.
The ‘#WalkforInclusion’ campaign, which will run until 31 December 2021, aims to encourage the public to share videos of themselves, family members, or friends walking across social media platforms, where creative expressions of the walking motion are encouraged.
Every video tagged with ‘#WalkforInclusion’ will add 10 steps to a universal digital counter that will be hosted on the campaign microsite. Besides the standard motion of walking, users are also encouraged to share fun videos that capture and interpret the act of walking in creative and innovative ways.
Furthermore, the microsite will be pulling together stories of resilience and grit from athletes, families, and coaches across the region, alongside a digital counter – where every ‘walk’ video uploaded, page load, and steps taken across physical walks and runs documented in support of #WalkforInclusion will be added to the total step count. The public is also encouraged to also play the ‘#WalkforInclusion’ AR Filter game – available on the SOAP’s official Facebook and Instagram pages – and to donate as well towards the cause.
The campaign also highlights the ‘Special Olympics Young Athletes’ program, which is an early intervention initiative for children with and without ID between the ages of two and seven.
Dipak Natali, Special Olympics’ regional president and managing director for APAC, shared that the movement reaches out to more than 360,000 children with ID across the region, and it helps in ringing home the message that in the global debate of diversity and inclusion, a large population is still marginalized from the mainstream consciousness and discussion.
“The aim of the ‘Special Olympics Young Athletes’ program is to give these children an early head start in life, to improve their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. It leverages the power of sports in furthering a child’s intellectual development by working their motor skills and fostering in them a sense of belonging to the community at large through effective teamwork. The program creates an environment of inclusivity and gives families of children with ID hope for a child’s future,” said Natali.
Besides the digital activation campaign, every dollar donated to SOAP will help an athlete get access to the right support in order to give them a better shot at a brighter future. Monetary contributions will also go towards supporting the work across the region including providing better healthcare through screenings and access for athletes, with the hope of early intervention and thus prevention in times of health needs.