This year continues to shoot in a strong dose of Youthful energy into endeavours of promoting Inclusion, clearing the path for a Unified Generation. The youth leaders are continuing to bring on board more youth through diverse activities, like art, skit etc. along with sporting engagements.

An inaugural session of reading individual stories of the Athletes as presented by the Athletes themselves opened a new chapter of stoking discussions around abilities, at the latest Youth Activation session held in Jaipur in April 2019.This session emerged from the ‘ Human RACE ‘  page ( an initiative of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Region- that steers conversations towards similarities rather than differences As stories unfolded, responses were received from potential youth leaders with and without Intellectual Disabilities.  #Bahadur (in the hindi script) was the response of a youth leader with Intellectual Disabilities to a story on a Medallist from the Abu Dhabi Games- Abhishek Gogoi

This is what happened from the session led by the Unified pair Mahi Dheri and Rithik Hukku at the Mahatma Gandhi Occupational Therapy College, Jaipur. As part of their plan conceptualized during the Global Youth Forum held at Baku Azerbaijan in September 2019 they initiated Youth Activation in Jaipur Rajasthan. “ I just feel that we should do such activities more frequently and should call in more schools so that more youth leaders can join us , as there is still a huge gap “ is what Rithik had to say, very eager to move on. In a complete report compiled by Mahi Dheri, she said “Inclusion begins with a heart and a will” Aaynu , Medallist from the Abu Dhabi Games 2019 came as a surprise when he addressed the group about his experiences from the games. Wearing his games kit and the medals he was every bit a Champion, with everyone flocking him to get pictures clicked. From here on, Aaynu will be joining the youth leaders in their Special Olympics endeavours

We should not treat Inclusion as a strategy but as an attitude”  is how Mohammad Kaif , a Delhi NCR YAC member started discussions at  a meeting held at the SO Bharat National office in the month of March 2019. The meeting brought about new ideas of presenting Special Olympics and promoting Inclusion. Marathons, Fundraisers, Wall of Inclusion, Unified Orchestra, Unified skits and plays in schools were brainstormed as fun and subtle demonstrations of breaking barriers. Shrey and Siddhant shared how they felt bullied and excluded in the early years of school. Both, Athlete leaders and part of Youth Activation

On 7 April, the SO Bharat Athletes and Youth leaders joined a session of Zumba at a fitness carnival “FIT TO CORE” organized by the Shankara Special School NOIDA. Shrey Kadian, Devanshi Gupta and Ayush Gill ensured Special Olympics participation in the event.  They felt proud to be with the World Games medallists who continued to charm & surprise the attendees with their achievements

The Delhi NCR Youth Activation Committee is quite established and is now set to expand its experiences with the other states of India. Each member of the committee is now assigned two or more states, to stay connected with the Youth leaders there and also with the State heads. Their connect with the youth leaders , for example in the state of Madhya Pradesh, brought to the fore amazing work being done by a Unified pair- Rohit Raghuvanshi and Suman Kale (Athlete Leader). The list goes on and even the Area Directors are not spared as a questionnaire is prepared by the youth to understand from them the degree of youth engagement in their respective states!

With innovative concepts like the Swimathon (March 2016), a brainchild of Hridey Sahgal, Youth leader from The International School Bangalore , or Pratishtha (July 2017) , the Community Outreach program initiated by Tanmay Agarwal, Youth leader from Apeejay School Pitampura New Delhi the ideas are unimaginable , the presentations are riveting , outcomes are emerging into sustainable models. Both continue to be Annual events geared to run into their third/fourth editions this year.

The fast approaching event now is the first ever Special Olympics National Youth Summit in India, scheduled for May 2019. The revolution is Inclusion and it is taking place through an energy powerhouse – the Youth