UNITED for UNICEF helps to inspire children with intellectual disabilities in Thailand
BANGKOK, 12 July 2013 – This weekend, about 36 children with intellectual disabilities will attend a Manchester United training session and a match thanks to the support of the club’s partnership with UNICEF, UNITED for UNICEF. The match, between Manchester United and Thai football stars, will take place at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Friday 12th July and Saturday 13th July.
The children, who range in age from 10-17, come from a number of schools in Bangkok, Chachengsao, Lopburi and Supanburi provinces. Many of the children have participated in the Special Olympics Thailand sports training and athletic competitions, which are aimed at helping children with intellectual disabilities improve their physical fitness and build self-confidence and self-esteem.
“Watching a football match with world-class players will be a great inspiration for these children” said Bijaya Rajbhandari, the Representative for UNICEF Thailand, which is providing support to Special Olympics Thailand for year-round sports training and competition for some 16,000 children with intellectual disabilities.
Rajbhandari noted that children with intellectual disabilities are among the most vulnerable and excluded groups in society, and that greater efforts should to be made to ensure that their rights to care and development are met.
“This includes opportunities to participate in sports and other organized physical activities, which have been shown to have a positive impact on their overall physical and emotional development as well as helping to improve their communication and social skills,” Rajbhandari said.
According to a National Statistical Office survey carried out in 2007, some 1.9 million people in Thailand have some form of disability. Of the estimated 1 million with intellectual disabilities, about 600,000 are children.
The partnership between UNICEF and Manchester United began in 1999, with the aim of harnessing the power of football and the global influence of Manchester United to improve the lives of children around the world. To date, the UNITED for UNICEF partnership has raised £3 million for UNICEF’s work for children, reaching 3.4 million children worldwide. In 2005, the club provided funding support for the construction of a gymnasium at Baan Kredtrakarn, a government-run temporary shelter that provides protection and services for hundreds of women and girls who have been victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
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