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On the Margins of the Margins: The Story of Abdullah Najim

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Abdullah Najim is a Special Olympics Cyprus athlete and refugee. On October 17, Special Olympics has brought together thought leaders in the industry to discuss the most vulnerable and least served population within the global displacement crisis in Brussels and Abdullah was the center of attention.

Abdullah Najim is a 19-year-old refugee from Iraq. He is also a Special Olympics gold medal winner athlete! At the age of six, Abdullah and his family abandoned strife-torn Baghdad after he was kidnapped. His family fled first to Syria and then resettled in Cyprus. Abdullah, who is autistic, faced many challenges as a boy as he was perceived to be “different”. Life in Cyprus, however, has allowed Abdullah and his family to start a brand new chapter in life. Abdullah discovered acceptance, friendship, self-belief and a world of possibility after becoming an athlete with Special Olympics Cyprus. In March 2017, he won a gold medal as part of the Cyprus team that won the floorball tournament in the Special Olympics Winter Games 2017 in Austria. Abdullah’s father, Abdul Najem, says that since joining Special Olympics, Abdullah is a different person. “He is happier and more confident. Special Olympics has succeeded where all else has failed, and Abdullah has finally found joy and success.”

About Me:

Communications and Marketing Manager, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia