Sports and Training
Special Olympics International (SO) is a global movement committed to providing year-round sport training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities (IDs), giving them the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, friendship, with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community. Globally, it reaches more than 6 million athletes living with ID. Specifically in Haiti, Special Olympics serves 300 athletes. Its successful program model is underpinned by the good will and commitment of volunteers to serve as coaches, trainers, co-athletes, and service providers; more than1.1 million serve as volunteers worldwide. It is through such networks national programs can serve athletes—delivering training and managing competitions.
Healthy Athletes and Inclusion Programs
In partnership with J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) and with the financial support of Fondasyon Konesans ak Libète (FOKAL), Special Olympics Haiti launched its first Healthy Athletes initiative, a one-day of medical screening program to evaluate athletes, build community and family awareness on ways to support the well-being of athletes and promote social inclusion in the community.
On January 26, 2020, L’Ecole Espoir in Delmas hosted nearly 200 athletes and their families for an important day filled with fun activities as well as health screenings provided by medical professionals (internists, pediatricians, psychologists, nurses, laboratory technicians) conducted by DR Groupe, two dentists offered by J / P HRO and a nutritionist, Kristèle G. Alerte, who presented to parents on the importance of proper nutrition.
People living with an intellectual disability (ID) are often excluded and isolated in Haitian society. Particularly in Haiti, those living with a disability lack access to proper healthcare; and they are the most forgotten and stigmatized population found in deplorable situations, deprived of health care and basic civil and human rights.
Special Olympics Haiti is proud to have partners such as the Digicel Foundation (official sponsor), J/P HRO, FOKAL, World Vision International-Haiti and Tropic S.A to support this important effort and hope it is just the beginning.
During the pandemic, Special Olympics Haiti will adapt its services to respect the government safety measures and social distancing practices to protect its athletes, families and its staff during all its activities, especially at the upcoming 2021 Healthy Athletes program.
Sports Development and Capacity Building
Fifteen years ago, Haiti joined the global movement. Special Olympics Haiti (SOH) works in collaboration with both the public and private sectors to contribute towards changing social attitudes and behaviors to influence better treatment and practices towards persons with IDs in their homes, communities and across the country. In the efforts to achieve its mission and vision, SOH joined forces with Special Olympics North America (SONA) and Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) to identify issues and solutions to help build up the organizational capacity to meet accreditation requirements and standards to ensure SOH delivers quality programming to its athletes.
Thanks to the US Embassy grant awarded in October 2018, SOH initiated a series of training sessions to improve volunteers who serve in training athletes, game management and at competitions. More than eight professional development sessions and practical trainings delivered from November 2018 to February 2019. 48 coaches completed a two-day training on SO Global Movement and Strategic Plan, Sports Discipline Training and Coaching, and Sporting events and games planning and production. 29 coaches received online training on the following:
Accompanying Persons Living with Intellectual Disabilities
Role of a Trainer in the Social Development of an Athlete
Psycho-social Development of Persons Living with Intellectual Disabilities
The Importance of Nutrition: A Balanced Diet for an Athlete
The Importance of Professional Etiquette
Navigating Social Media for Marketing and Communications
Presentation on Special Olympics Haiti 2019 Annual Program
Special Olympics Haiti 2019 Strategic Plan
Special Olympics Haiti is preparing to implement new training and development programs for coaches in 2021, particularly in sports such as basketball and tennis. It will continue to roll out training in football, bocce, table tennis, track and field, and equestrian to its athletes.