Junior Achievement (JA) Ghana and Prince’s Trust International (PTI) recently collaborated with Special Olympics Ghana to launch a new sporting activity to break barriers in society between children with special needs and those in the mainstream. The event dubbed ‘Special Olympics’, took place at the Dzorwulu Special school on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
Special Olympics was a huge success, with children from Police Depot Junior High School and the Dzorwulu Special School participating in a range of sporting activities and games designed to help them to accept their differences and promote inclusiveness. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and joy as children from different backgrounds and abilities came together to share their love for sports.
Special Olympics is a newly introduced segment of the Achieve Programme, an early intervention personal development program designed to help young people in Junior High Schools appreciate the value of education and develop soft skills that are instrumental for future success. The new intervention is predicated on the mutual belief of JA Ghana and PTI on why it is important for children with special needs to be given equal opportunities and experiences like those in the mainstream. Special Olympics provided a platform for children with special needs to showcase their skills and abilities and to build relationships and friendships with others.
Speaking at the event, Jane Parker, the International Programme Manager, Ghana at PTI remarked that “the purpose of this event is to break down those barriers between young people in mainstream school and those in special schools. It is well known that sport is a fantastic way to break down barriers between different people, bring them together and promote that inclusivity.”
“We are going to carry on working with Junior Achievement Ghana and we are going to carry on doing our soft skills training in Junior High Schools. And now that we have a disability section, we are going to brood on that to more children across Ghana during Special Olympics,” she added.
The Achieve Programme Lead at JA Ghana, Lorretta Domfeh Owusu, said in an interview “we realized we have children in our schools with special needs who are normally neglected during sporting activities. We decided to pair them with children in the mainstream so they can mingle and co-exist peacefully with each other.” She continued by saying; “We believe that through these activities, they will learn to work with each other as sporting activities need a lot of cooperation and understanding from both teams for a win.
“Also, we wanted the children from the mainstream to be able to appreciate the unique abilities of those with special needs to break the societal barrier and perception they may have of them
JA Ghana and PTI will look to improve the collaboration between children with special needs and those in the mainstream by extending Special Olympics to more schools in subsequent cycles of the Achieve Programme.