Abu Dhabi: Special Olympics UAE recently honored schools, students, and teachers dedicated to championing inclusion in school communities by organizing a Unified Champion Schools (UCS) Awarding Ceremony.
Special Olympics UAE is an initiative which serves athletes with intellectual disabilities through sport competitions and inclusive community programs.
The virtual event, live-streamed from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, was the 1st award showcase for all the programs under the UCS umbrella, that drive inclusion for People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities in mainstream schools.
The Awards include 39 categories spread across various segments such as sports, leadership, impact, and sustainable inclusion. The UCS Awarding Ceremony also declared the winners of the Unified Robotics competition. The competition initially launched in 2019, had the largest participation ever in its latest edition.
This Year of the Award was the 1st instance where event showcased athletes, partners, teachers, team leaders, and schools that have exemplified inclusion in implementing Unified Sports, and creating opportunities for leadership in innovation, impact, exposure, and sustainability.
Young Emirati leader Ms. Ghalyah Al Hendi, a participant in the Unified Robotics competition was among the winners who were honored at the ceremony. Ms. Al Hendi along with her teammate Ms. Alyazia Al Hadhrami, co-founded Peoplability, an organization funded by the Special Olympics UAE grant for inclusive youth leadership, which connects People of Determination with employment and university opportunities.
UNIFIED ROBOTICS 2022
The 2022 Unified Robotics Competition was held in partnership with Atlab and was supported by KPMG.
The competition concluded at the UCS Awarding Ceremony with the announcement of gold, silver, and bronze winners along with special award categories for schools that demonstrated inclusion, team spirit and innovation.
700 neurodiverse students and mainstream peers from 153 UAE schools competing together to complete robotics missions this year, making it the Edition with the highest participation to date.
The National Director of Special Olympics UAE further added, “This success sets an example of the UAE’s proactive commitment to inclusion, especially in education, where youths can start their journey in life with the belief that inclusion is a norm, not an exception. We are very grateful to our country’s leadership for the unwavering support and all the schools, educational groups, students, and teachers who create environments of acceptance and inclusion for students of all abilities.”