Special Olympics Romania Foundation announces the start of the Advocacy Programme for People with Intellectual Disabilities – Leaders Through Sports

*Working together for an inclusive Europe.

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PRESS RELEASE

Bucharest, February 23rd, 2021 – Special Olympics Romania Foundation (FSOR) announces the start of the project „Leaders Through Sports” – the Advocacy Programme for People with Intellectual Disabilities, developed by FSOR in partnership with the Association of Support for the Establishment, Development and Management of Sports Structures (ASCDMSS) with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The project is implemented in collaboration with Special Olympics Iceland, over the course of 36 months (February 1st, 2021 – January 31, 2024) and it will be available in 15 counties from Romania.The aim of this project is to train people with intellectual disabilities (PID) in advocacy, leadership and self-representation techniques, to form the SO Sports Leaders Committee, in order to approach local authorities, to request access to sports venues for trainings and public funds for organizing sports competitions. Likewise, the informal network Special Olympics National Sports Committee (CSNSO) will be created, with the role to represent people with intellectual disabilities (PID) and to advocate for their rights, to reinforce their abilities and facilitate their access to sports.Under the slogan „I CAN!”, the project „Leaders Through Sports” will support 675 PID from 15 counties to improve their health by regularly practising adapted sports activities, to aquire the necessary abilities for advocacy and to become part of sports structures that will represent their interests both locally and nationally.„The access of people with disabilities to sports facilities is extremely limited in Romania, affecting their health and social inclusion. Authorities must provide for them proper conditions for practising sports and uphold the activity of their sports organizations. Still, facts prove that people with intellectual disabilities take part in sports activities to a small extent. Some of the reasons could be related to PID having no knowledge of the legislation, the lack of a local form of organization (such as sports clubs), the low practice of self-representation (advocacy) and of developing some practical action plans. The project proposes activities that will increase the social abilities of PID, develop their capacity to self-represent and advocate, activities that could get them out of isolation and bring them to the forefront of their communities, not as socially assisted people, but as Sports Leaders that have the knowledge and capability to claim their rights” – declared Viorel Mocanu, Sports Director of Special Olympics Romania.

The most important activities of the project „Leaders Through Sports”:

  • 60 Sports Leaders (SL) with intellectual disabilities from 15 cities in Romania will be trained in advocacy and leadership techniques and will approach local authorities in order to request free access to sports venues for weekly trainings and public funds for organizating sports competitions.
  • Another 75 people with intellectual disabilities (PID) will be trained in self-representing techniques.
  • The Special Olympics Sports Leaders Committee (CSLSO) will be founded, with the mission to present the rights of this group of people and the benefits of having them practising sports.
  • 7 Sports Clubs with Sport Identity Certificate (CSCIS), dedicated to PID, will also be founded and they will be involved in activities together with other 8 existing clubs.
  • The representants of the Sports Clubs and of the Sports Leaders Committee will learn from the partner organization ASCDMSS and from the collaborators from Special Olympics Iceland how to advocate for free access to sports venues for trainings and how to gain funding from local authorities.
  • The informal network Special Olympics National Sports Committee (CSNSO) will be created, with the role of representing PID and implementing the UE legislation regarding non-discrimination in sports. In this regard, CSNSO will facilitate meetings with decision makers, will provide information for the 15 Sports Clubs, will work together with the SO Sports Leaders Committee and with ASCDMSS, with the purpose to facilitate access for people with intellectual disabilities to sports venues and dedicated sports activities.
  • The National Conference „Leaders through Sports” will be organized (which will bring together 90 participants interested in the field of adapted sports); also, 15 local sports competitions, 2 regionals and 1 national.
  • 540 PID from 15 counties will participate in trainings and adapted sports competitions.
  • The project takes place over the course of 36 months and is implemented in 15 counties: Arad, Bacau, Botosani, Brasov, Bucuresti-Ilfov, Cluj, Constanta, Galati, Gorj, Hunedoara, Iasi, Valcea, Prahova, Sibiu and Timis.

The project Leaders Through Sports is implemented by the Special Olympics Romania Foundation in partnership with the Association of Support for the Establishment, Development and Management of Sports Structures (ASCDMSS) and benefits from a 236.088 euros grant from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information, visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at: https://activecitizensfund.ro.*Working together for an inclusive Europe.

*Working together for an inclusive Europe

About Special Olympics Romania Foundation

There are over 200 million people with intellectual disabilities in the world, out of whom approximately 130.000 in Romania. Special Olympics Romania aims, since its foundation in 2003, to reach every one of them and their families, through competitions, courses, health evaluations, fundraising events and through sustainable solutions to increase employment for adult people with intellectual disabilities. Information and photos about Special Olympics Romania: www.specialolympics.ro, https://www.facebook.com/specialolympicsromania, https://www.instagram.com/specialolympicsromania

Contact: Oana Grecea, PR & Communication, Tel: 0722 544 601, o.grecea@specialolympics.ro

About the Association of Support for the Establishment, Development and Management of Sports Structures (ASCDMSS)

The association has partnerships and collaborations with over 12 Sports Federations and represents the interests of over 20 Sports Clubs from various counties and sports branches. With the help of specialized staff, ASDCMSS provided specialized consultancy for the endeavours that had as a result the foundation of two new Sports Federations (Darts and Chanbara), certified by the Ministry of Youth and Sports as a structural part in the National System of Physical Education and Sports in Romania.

About Special Olympics Iceland

SO Iceland supports social inclusion through sports for people with intellectual disabilities by organizing all year long trainings and sports competitions dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities. SO Iceland is part of a structure similar to the informal network of the Special Olympics National Sports Committee, has a rich advocacy experience, with results both in the sports area (access to halls, fields and venues for PID and their coaches), as well as in terms of visibility for PID both in local communities and on national level.

About Active Citizens Fund Romania

The Active Citizens Fund Romania programme is funded through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The overall objective of the Grants is to reduce economic and social disparities, and to strengthen bilateral relations between 15 beneficiary countries and the Donor States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The programme is administered by a consortium composed of Civil Society Development Foundation, Romanian Environmental Partnership Foundation, Resource Center for Roma Communities, PACT Foundation and Frivillighet Norge, acting as Fund Operator designated by FMO – Financial Mechanism Office of the EEA and Norway Grants. The objectives of the Active Citizens Fund Romania are to strengthen civil society and active citizenship and to empower vulnerable groups. With a total allocation of 46,000,000 euro, the programme pursues a long-term development of the civil society sector sustainability and capacity, stepping up its role in promoting democratic participation, active citizenship and human rights, while strengthening bilateral relations with organizations from the Donor States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. For more information about the Active Citizens Fund in Romania, please go to www.activecitizensfund.ro. For more information about the EEA and Norway Grants, go to www.eeagrants.org.

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