22 March 2018 – 12 April 2018 splurged a spate of Unified sporting activities stimulating even the low ability Athletes to exhibit their hidden potential in joyous moments of fun and play. While these were separate events conducted in separate schools also preparing the schools to create a potential of such activities in future, two mega Unified sports festivals held in November 2017 and February 2018 encouraged the higher ability Athletes and Unified Partners to combine in friendly competitions. The celebrations of Inclusion were made possible with the support of Hasbro Inc.
August 2017 created a platform for Mumbai to reach out to more youth with and without Intellectual Disabilities, creating more Unified schools to nuture a Unified generation through sports supported by Hasbro.Two Unified Sports Festival were held at the SAI Centre (Sports Authority of India) Kandivali East, Mumbai. While ages 8-11 yrs participated in the recreational acitivities in November 2017, February 2018 continued with the celebrations bringing together Athletes and Unified partners of a higher age group- 12-18 yrs in friendly competitons
Volunteers and Youth leaders from St. Andrews College Bandra and the International Institute of Sports Management (IISM) supported the conduct of competitive models of Unified Athletics (100 mtr run) and Unified 5-a-side football. The event was supervised by Mr Archie Dias, a Premier Skills & Tottenham trained Coach along with Ms Krystalle Aguiar also a Premier Skills trained Coach. Three rounds of ability tests were conducted to ensure fair divsioning in football. Time trials were conducted in Athletics and the Athletes competed as per the ability grouping
It was heartening to witness an active lead by the youth leader, Kavita Singh, student of IISM who recently attended the Leadership Academy 1 held in Kolkata West Bengal in January 2018. She with her team of 30, supported communications , wherein they captured videos instantly posting on Social Media and also taking feedback of the participants of their experience at the event. Along with the other volunteers they helped in the divisioning process and the overall conduct of the event.
According to Kavita this was a great experience especially,for the Unified Partners , with quite a few expressing their surprise on seeing performance of the Athletes on the sports field. They were geared up for an easier engagement. For many, playing for the first time with persons with Intellectual Disabilities, they were happily surprised by their performance- “Never thought they could do this”
The Hasbro Inc. support opened opportunities for more and more Unified Schools in the city as it enabled the Mumbai chapter to reach out to 15 new mainstream schools and three colleges across the two events (November 2017 and February 2018). Volunteers and youth leaders in large numbers from the National Academy for Sports Management in November 2017 and St Andrews College and the IISM in February 2018 supported the event.
The event was attended by a team of HASBRO Inc – India (Mumbai and Pune) who actively engaged with the Athletes on the sports field, enthusiastically familiarising themselves with the various aspects of conducting a Unified Sports Program, across both the festivals
Ashish Dakhure, Hasbro Inc.- India
“Being a part of the Special Olympics was my one of best experiences. When I knew that some players have intellectual disability, I was nervous because I wasn’t sure of the right care in the right way. To understand this I thought I should attend & learn to appreciate life and hard work by all. When I met them, my ideas about them completely changed. Both athletes and unified partners ate, talked, played, laughed together. They helped each other through the game in such way that my words are not enough to express . I felt that they were not just players but friends . A One-day event was not enough! Trust me, you will not believe me until you will be a part of this enthusiastic moment. This event gave me warmth, and the best memory”
Saikat Sarkar, Hasbro Inc.- India
Be Fearless, Be Kind- that precisely is the driver for every Hasbro employee, in particular when we got associated with SOBharat. It was every moment of joy and celebration with the remarkable Athletes, their teachers , parents and organisers . A day that sits on your calender as one of the cherished opportunities- waiting to be attended again
The event (November 2017) opened new opportunities for the Mumbai chapter to connect with the Government Education authorities which oversees education of the entire city, bringing on mainstream schools. The event was conducted with support from Hasbro Inc.
Two groups, 8-9yrs and 10-11yrs were formed with each group playing two unified recreational games. The day saw enthusiastic participation of Hasbro officials from Mumbai and Pune, cities which have the Hasbro offices in India.
The experience was just wonderful and also seeing so many persons wearing Hasbro T shirts was fantastic, said Geetika, from Hasbro Pune. The team looks forward to more engagements with SO Bharat in the near future
Global day of Joy
In addition to the Unified Sports festivals Hasbro invited Special Olympics Bharat to be part of their 5th Annual Global Day of Joy celebrated on 14 December 2017. They made the day fun-filled for over 500 Special Olympics Bharat Athletes in Mumbai and Pune. This day encourages Hasbro employees around the world to spend the day spreading cheer to children in need through voluntary projects. 2017 was the first year of operations for the India Entities and the first Global Day of Joy for Hasbro India. Two schools in Pune and one in Mumbai were selected for the Hasbro employees to carry out voluntary services relevant to the respective schools.
In Pune at the Kamyani Vidya Mandir they painted a 200ft (length) x 10 ft (high) wall. This was a requirement of the school for a Cricket tournament coming up at that time. At the Balkalyan Sanstha Hasbro engaged with the Athletes in activities underway at the time like Music, art and craft Computers. At the SPJ Sadhana School in Mumbai it was decided that they would help the staff with Christmas decorations, involving the Athletes as much as possible.
Sr. Pratibha Pinto, Principal, SPJ Sadhana School, Mumbai
We were very happy to have a group of HASBRO Employees with us on the GLOBAL DAY OF JOY. It gave us great joy to have them participate in our Annual Exhibition. They were very enthusiastic in working with our students, decorating the school. The school has a truly festive look as a result of their co-operation. We are also very grateful for the gift of Play Do Boxes. The joy that our students felt in their hearts was evident by the look on their faces on receiving the boxes
“The HASBRO support has definitely enhanced Unified Sports participation and that too in the higher age group. The competitive model which was conducted in February 2018 generated a lot of excitement. Through their support we have connected with 15 new mainstream schools who sent their students in large numbers for both the festivals’ – Ms Sandra Vaz, Area Director SO Bharat Maharashtra
“Hasbro is very proud of it’s relationship with Special Olympics in India and is excited to be a part of the unified sports festival in Mumbai. It is through events like this, that our ‘Be Fearless, Be Kind’ initiative can empower youth to have empathy, compassion and courage to stand up for others” Bhavesh Somaya, HASBRO Inc , Country Manager India
In October 2016 Hasbro, Inc., launched BE FEARLESS BE KIND, its largest philanthropic initiative ever, designed to empower the youth to have the empathy, compassion and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives, serving as positive role models and change makers . Through this project HASBRO connected with SO Bharat in India