Skip to main content

Students lead on inclusion with support from Special Olympics

“The love of the game lets us set aside our differences while preserving everyone’s unique individuality, creating a team that unites separate individual links in a perfect chain.” This is how a student from the 5th General High School of Korydallos near Athens summed up the essence of Play Unified: Learn Unified, a social inclusion program from Special Olympics Hellas that has been running in Greece for three years now.

Students in 21 other countries also take part in Play Unified: Learn Unified programming with support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), joining in united sports, educational, and recreational school activities for kids with and without intellectual disabilities. The aim of the program is to promote cooperation, friendship, and mutual respect while fostering social inclusion.

The results are encouraging: 80% of program participants without intellectual disabilities said that they understood that their feelings, behavior, and actions have a significant impact on others, and 90% of participants with intellectual disabilities felt positive about their general experience at school.

SNF has collaborated with Special Olympics Hellas and Special Olympics International for years, most recently through an $8.5 million grant supporting the expansion of the Play Unified: Learn Unified to even more schools around the world.