Special Olympics International and IFRC celebrate new partnership

تم النشر: 12 يوليه 2013 16:29 CET

“The IFRC is our vehicle to awaken the world of development to the needs and potential of people with disabilities,” said Special Olympics International Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver at the official signing of the partnership between the two organizations. Dr. Shriver praised the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement commitment to a culture of inclusion and of non-violence and peace, highlighting the fact that people with disabilities are among the world’s most victimized through discrimination, violence and exclusion.

The partnership will support the integration of this heavily neglected population into the global development agenda, promoting the fundamental principles critical to effective development: mutual understanding, acceptance and dignity. The memorandum of understanding represents a major contribution to the post-2015 Millennium Development Goal framework, which will offer greater representation to marginalized groups.

Community-level action and engagement are fundamental to both organizations. Through the agreement, Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies will seek opportunities to include people with disabilities in their activities, including youth engagement, access to health and social services, promoting inclusive society and disaster preparedness. “People with intellectual disabilities are not different than us. They are our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors,” said Dr. Shriver, discussing the Special Olympics goal of having one million non-disabled young people playing with their peers in Special Olympics sports. Within Red Cross Red Crescent, young people are among the most active in promoting a culture of inclusion, particularly through the Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change programme.

“Together we can end cycle of stigma and share stories of inspiration”, said Secretary General Bekele Geleta. Special guest Celine Perriraz, who won a medal in the 2005 Special Olympics in Nagano, was the keynote speaker for the event, sharing the importance of Special Olympics in her life. She emphasized the need for inclusion and for community level support and called upon the Red Cross Red Crescent to amplify this message.

“We must focus our efforts on working with this vulnerable, yet powerful group of people”, noted Secretary General Bekele Geleta. Dr. Shriver added, “I am optimistic. I think the next 20 years will mark historic change for our population because of this generation of people”.