As Europe continues to navigate open war in Ukraine, the region also continues to demonstrate strong solidarity in support of refugees fleeing violence and conflict. Millions of individuals have been forced from their homes in search of safety and security, creating a deepening vulnerability for families and children alike in host communities.
Through the work of the Special Olympics – Lions Clubs International Foundation “Mission: Inclusion” platform, both organizations are teaming up to provide urgent support to refugee families, especially those with children and adults with intellectual disabilities, through Eastern and Central Europe. In Poland, through the generous support of Lions Clubs International Foundation, Special Olympics Poland is now supporting over 7,000 refugees through direct provisions to 20+ reception centers, refugee shelters and accommodation sites. The “Mission: Inclusion” partnership is providing key support in the way of food, water, sanitation kits- even new beds – which offer refugees not only public health but also a renewed dignity and comfort as they look to integrate into their new host communities.
For over 2 decades, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation- and countless Lions Clubs and Leos volunteers- have committed to driving inclusion through service throughout the world. In now over 100 nations and growing, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation continue to strengthen civil society, answer the needs of individuals most on the margins, and generate a new sense of volunteerism and citizenship through community service programming, including grass-roots sports and inclusive development activities to empower individuals of all abilities.
As the region looks forward to a day when peace will prevail, Special Olympics and Lions Clubs International Foundation stand ready to support refugees wherever they are, reinforcing the global creed: Where there is a need, there is a Lion.