The Special Olympics Malawi-SOM is working on identifying schools to be beneficiaries of the MBZ Unified Champion Schools program.
SOM partnered with the crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a deal worth 100 Million Kwacha for the program.
SOM told Capital FM that it is set to identify 40 schools in the three regions who will benefit from the sport program.
Speaking after unveiling the partnership last Friday in Lilongwe, SOM National Director Enid Mauluka said the Unified Champion Schools program will involve pre-school to University students with an aim of promoting social inclusion between students with and without intellectual disabilities.
She said: “The funding will also help us in other areas such as recruitment of coaches for the various sport disciplines are played by students in pre-schools all the way to colleges which helps their social as well as physical development.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Education Officer for Inclusive education in the ministry of Education Peter Msendama says government will assist SOM with the identification process and appoint coordinators for the program.
“We are committed to identifying more schools across Malawi apart from the schools already earmarked.” Msendama said.
The ultimate goal of various sports under the SOM, is promoting social inclusion between student with and without disabilities focusing on intellectually disabled students.
One of the minority sports which the Special Olympics Malawi-SOM is promoting is a team sport called Bocce.
In an interview with Capital FM, SOM’s Bocce coach Mustafa Moses explained that Bocce is a lawn or yard game, that is played with eight weighted balls aimed at a smaller target ball, or pallino.
“The objective of the game is to earn points by getting your balls closer to the pallino than your opponent does,” Moses explained.
According to SOM officials, there is an urgent need to train more Bocce coaches across the country with an aim familiarizing students from pre-schools to tertiary level with the sport.
“We need to train more coaches in schools across the country as a way of ensuring that the sport becomes more popular among students from Pre-schools to colleges. This on its own can help promote social inclusion among student with and without intellectual disabilities,” Moses said.
At the moment, the sport is speculated to be familiar with some selected schools in Blantyre.