Chisinau, 15 September, 2017. About 200 children aged 3 to 8 years old, including children with disabilities engaged in sports activities and football games at the Sports Complex “Futsal Arena FMF”, Ciorescu commune, Moldova.
The event was organised by Special Olympics Moldova in partnership with Moldovan Football Federation, UNICEF Moldova and Chisinau Center for Public Health, with the aim of promoting inclusion of all children through sports.
The Moldovan Football community supports any initiative, project or programme that aims to promote a healthy lifestyle among children. Every child has the right to fully enjoy the benefits of sports, football among them, so as to foster stronger ties with her community, said Nicolaei Cebotari, General Secretary of Moldovan Football Federation.
The young athletes exercised and played football guided by 100 volunteers, while parents had the opportunity to interact with early childhood development specialists.
Special Olympics organizes this type of events for the first time in Moldova. Together with our partners we are glad to have brought so many smiles, and such inspiration to the wonderful children gathered here, their parents, educators and community leaders, said Alexandra Danilenco, President of Special Olympics Moldova.
Through this partnership children and youth with intellectual disabilities from 35 countries are empowered to contribute and fully participate in their communities. In Moldova, more than 1000 children of pre-school age, 600 parents and educators and 30 community leaders engaged in sports activities organized in Chisinau, Straseni, Ungheni, Taraclia, Telenesti, Dubasari, Criuleni and Rezina beginning with 2014.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics Moldova contributes to the social integration of children with intellectual disabilities, offering them the opportunity to develop their potential and athletic abilities through regularly organized sports training programmes and competitions.
About Moldovan Football Federation
Moldovan Football Federation supports Special Olympics Moldova since 1999 in order to promote a healthy life style through sports among children with disabilities. Each year Moldovan Football Federation joins Special Olympics in organizing sports activites in boarding schools and secondary education institution across the country.
Through sports, children can unite, discover and achieve their potential. Sports are inclusive – anyone can join in, regardless of age, gender, disability or social status. It doesn’t matter who wins today, in the end friendship is always the winner! said Ms. Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in Moldova, in her welcoming speech.
UNICEF and Special Olympics have been working together since 2007 to protect and promote the rights of children with intellectual disabilities, with a focus on changing the perception of children with disabilities and promotion of inclusion through sports.
Sharing the commitment to promote the rights of children with intellectual disabilities, outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Children with Disabilities, the two partners have signed a Global Memorandum of Understanding at the Special Olympic Games in Athens in 2011. Common actions under the Memorandum include offering opportunities for inclusive sports participation, free healthcare checks, activities ensuring healthy early childhood development, training in family health planning for parents and caregivers, as well as collaborative efforts to consolidate national legislation on child rights.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.