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Fighting Negative Perceptions - A Leo's Story

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Leo Annah Ruwanika together with the Special Olympics Zimbabwe participants of the Africa Leadership Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa: youth leader Tanyaradzwa Nzvengende, athlete leader Nyasha Derere, chairperson Clever Mugadza, Lions Club youth mentor Dr. Eldrette Shereni and national director Viola Musariri.

Participating in school, basic activities, sports, work, church and the community in general is the very essence of our wellbeing. Social inclusion is therefore an integral part of us finding happiness in our lives.

There are up to 200 million people with intellectual disabilities (ID) around the world. Special Olympics has managed to transform lives through the joy of sport, and has a database of 4,7 million athletes in 169 countries, aided by over 1 million volunteers.

In Zimbabwe many people are born with ID, and families are unaccepting of this condition. It is considered taboo in cultural beliefs, being treated as evil spirits or a punishment to the family for past sin. Society often treats them as outcasts, with very few being accepted into community life.

Special Olympics Zimbabwe and Lions Club are working hard to fight these negative perceptions through Unified Sports, and activities that demonstrate having ID does not affect one’s have a good life. Join us!

About Me:

I am a proud Leo and 2017 Global Youth Summit Regional Attendee in Graz, Austria at the Special Olympics World Winter Games.