Dear Everyone

My warm greetings to you

I am delighted to reach out at the end of yet another year of achievements that we have accomplished together. Special Olympics is, every year, adding new dimensions in its efforts of bringing about the inclusion of persons with Intellectual disabilities, world over. With placing sports in the heart of the movement, the commitment to mainstream the Athletes is spreading beyond limitations.

This year has made us stand tall in the light of the heart-warming participation and victories of our Athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games held in June of 2023 in Berlin Germany. The mega event while drew the attention of the world, in India too, over 70 celebrities, govt representatives, distinguished personalities, and influencers turned their attention to the abilities of our Athletes by attending the events in person or spreading awareness on their online platforms. I trust that the awareness and participation in the world games has been transformational for the Athletes as for many of us, as well. The 106th edition of Mann Ki Baat aired in October 2023 had the hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi speak about the Special Olympics Bharat Athletes, upholding their achievements and remarkable ability and agility to push their limits. The episode was truly epic and I am confident that it would continue to inspire all of us in the years to come.

Special Olympics International launched the Global Leadership Coalition for Inclusion – a pioneering effort to support the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities – parallel to the Berlin world games. The coalition aims to bring together governments, global development stakeholders, philanthropic and community organizations in an effort to increase inclusive practices in education. As all of you are engaged in expanding and strengthening the engagement of youth in schools and colleges inclusively, it is my ambition to look towards the Government of India, whose support would help us nurture a unified generation through Special Olympics sports and initiatives. Here too, we accomplished to ink an agreement between the SO Bharat Delhi Chapter and the Education & Sports directorate of the Govt of Delhi NCT. These activations ensure that we add scale with quality. We aim to replicate the achievement across all the states and union territories of India. Special Olympics International has felicitated SO Bharat as a ‘regional hub of excellence’ and this is through your consistent efforts in creating Unified Champion schools

Our efforts are strongly geared towards providing year-round sports training to the Athletes at locations within proximity, which is in conjunction with the Special Olympics mission. 21 Sports Centres are currently functional, providing opportunities of holistic development to the athletes looking into their health and fitness, while building an environment of acceptance and inclusion.

In celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav that upheld 75 years of independence and development, we have documented ‘75’ stories of our Athletes, that substantiates the champion in each of them. The booklet which is titled, ‘Shining leaves’ maps the impact of the movement in India through individual experiences. I take this opportunity to launch the booklet and encourage you all to read it and share with your stakeholders.

I also take this moment to express my gratitude to the Athletes, Coaches, Board members, Area Directors and their respective state teams, officials of Special Olympics International and the Asia Pacific Region along with all our volunteers & our several stakeholders for their valuable, earnest, and continuing support.

Lastly, I am happy to conclude that we are rapidly moving on the path of quality growth, that includes our sincere efforts in reclaiming our reach that was lost to the pandemic. TOGETHER WE CAN
Let inclusion be in our heart, mind, and actions always!

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and a fruitful New Year