CA4 – Europa
Migration remains one of the most pressing issues facing national governments, local communities, and the international development sector in today’s ever-changing global marketplace. From the Middle East to Africa, the Americas, and beyond, refugees fleeing poverty, natural disasters, and war continue to rise at an alarming rate. The plight facing refugees has been accentuated over the past decade, with mass migration of refugees interrupting national and global geopolitics, sometimes even transforming them. Beyond policy discussions, this plight persists. Among all the population subsets affected by migration, there is one population that faces almost unspeakable risk and marginalization, not to mention social isolation: refugee youth with intellectual disabilities.
As national governments and the United Nations join efforts to mitigate the risks facing refugees and people on the move, the role of civil society and global philanthropy stakeholders takes on an even greater significance, highlighting potential solutions and building capacity at all levels for social and emotional support, technical assistance, resource mobilization, and much more. The Special Olympics movement, through its Unified with Refugees program, has taken an active stance on engaging refugee youth, both with and without intellectual disabilities, using inclusive sports to break down barriers of exclusion and replace them with avenues for social cohesion, inclusion, and support.
How has this platform grown so effectively across some 15 nations and counting? Through the targeted, generous, and globally-recognized support of one of the world’s strongest philanthropic entities for services: Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
LCIF remains one of the world’s strongest agents of change in communities around the world, providing support for global initiatives related to eye health and vision care, environmental protection, pediatric cancer, youth empowerment, and much more. Through the long-standing “Mission: Inclusion” partnership with Special Olympics, LCIF has worked tirelessly to enable refugee youth of all abilities to join the pitch in friendship, solidarity, and partnership. Furthermore, through LCIF’s generous support, Special Olympics can showcase to national governments the leadership of LCIF in empowering those on the margins through individual acts of kindness, service, and inclusion.
From the Nyagarusu refugee camp in Tanzania to reception centers in Spain and beyond, LCIF and Special Olympics are collaborating to empower refugee youth to thrive in their host communities, harnessing the power of the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership platform to make inclusive sports and community service integral to refugee support worldwide.