SOJ receives second installment of Fifa grant

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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The Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) unified football programme was recently boosted by a US$12,500 grant from Special Olympics International through Fifa' s Football for Hope initiative.

It is the second and final instalment after SOJ was handed a similar amount last year.

The unified sports programme offers people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play alongside those without intellectual disabilities for sports training and competition.

The Fifa initiative has backed the development of unified football since 2010 and has assisted programmes run by approximately 170 non-governmental organisations in scores of countries.

SOJ continues to expand its work across Jamaica and has established unified partners from the parish of St Catherine, in particular in the Spanish Town community and its environs.

Next month the male unified athletes will be showcasing their skills at the first-ever Toyota Unified Football Cup in Chicago, United States, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics Games.

The Special Olympics Jamaica team is slated to open its account against Nigeria on July 17. The Jamaicans are also grouped with Italy and Japan.

The Football for Hope initiative has also enabled Jamaica to prepare male and female unified football teams to participate at the 2019 Abu Dhabi World Summer Games.

The athletes are to be drawn from Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine.

The Special Olympics movement focuses on breaking down barriers that exclude people with intellectual disabilities from mainstream society. The intellectual disabilities can either be acquired or genetic, and can include cases of cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, autism, and traumatic brain injury.

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