New Delhi: The success of the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program supported by the IKEA Foundation has grown from strength to strength in recent times, and to witness the work that goes into the Program, 9 members from the Ikea Foundation, Taiwan visited India between 29 April to 4 May 2018. The 10-member team, which was accompanied by representatives from the Special Olympics International USA and the Special Olympics Bharat, visited schools, met the families of the Young Athletes, and met the local and state authorities in Haryana and Delhi as a part of their ‘Iwitness’ trip.
The ‘Iwitness’ trip included interactive sessions with the Young Athletes, their mentors and family members, which were conducted at different schools to understand the significance of sport for children belonging to the underprivileged background battling trivialities for their daily sustenance. The 10-member ‘Iwitness’ team visited numerous schools on a daily basis, which included The Soniya Arya Memorial Little Angels Inclusive School in Sonepat where the team met 35 Young Athletes and their 15 family members, Chetanalaya Society which boasts of students like Ritu and Sunil who have participated in the World Games, and the Kulachi Hansraj School which has been associated with SO Bharat for numerous years. They reached out to the Balmiki Aanganwadi to experience impact of the program at the grassroots.
The ‘Iwitness’ team interacted in depth with the Young Athletes, teachers and parents with the assistance of the SO Bharat National and State officers. The 6-day visit saw the IKEA ‘Iwitness’ team study the Young Athletes closely and highlighted the notable work done by SO Bharat in supporting young children, irrespective of their economic strata. IKEA Iwitness team’s spokesperson, Ms Vivi Chen while expressing her satisfaction on the visit said, “The greatest achievement of this 6-day trip was to have been able to see the joy on the faces of the children as they engaged in playing. I was happy to see drills being conducted which are relevant to both persons with and without Intellectual Disabilities. The Unified layout is meaningful in as much as preparing the Athletes to be part of the society along with the rest”