CA4 – Europa
For over two decades, the partnership shared between Special Olympics and the Lions Clubs International Foundation has brought the transformative power of inclusion through service to communities around the world. From vision care services to family health education to refugee support and more, Lions Clubs and Leo volunteers have consistently answered the call of individuals with intellectual disabilities to include, to engage, to lead. This focus on inclusion through service has not only deepened in nations around the world, but it has also inspired new nations to join the effort.
As part of a multilateral partnership between Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International Foundation and the Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust, the partnership is charting new courses of action and impact across a new geographic focus of the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership: the Caribbean.
In November of 2023, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs and Leos alike implemented the first-ever Family Health Forum in the nation of Aruba- as part of a focused effort to bring the “Mission: Inclusion” partnership to new markets, engaging new Clubs, and impacting new athletes. Families of children with intellectual disabilities from throughout the country came to learn about important health education related to Diabetes prevention, sanitation and hygiene, eye health and vision care and much more. In addition, the athletes of Special Olympics Aruba were afforded the chance to have a comprehensive vision screening through the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Foundation signature program-Opening Eyes.
The Family Health Forum underscores an urgent need for increased access to health information on the part of marginalized populations. It also highlights the civil and community leadership that both Lions Clubs volunteers and Leo youth leaders embody in communities throughout the Caribbean- taking up the cause of supporting their peers of different abilities and providing inclusive development for all.
Through the generous support of the Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust, and the global leadership of the Lions Clubs International Foundation, athletes from throughout the Caribbean have renewed vigor to achieve their best on the pitch and in life’s arena through the example set by the most inclusive service club organization in the world.