The Special Olympics Samoa group conducted a three-day training program for volunteer coaches in the rural areas, in a programme that aims to increase the participation of children and youth with disabilities in sports.
Speaking to Samoa Global News the National Director of SOS, Unasa Elizabeth Ah Poe, said last weeks program aimed to build the capacity of volunteer coaches in Siumu and Tafitoala Safata, to increase their knowledge and understanding of rules and regulations of Sports that are held at the Special Olympics”.
Unasa thanked the European Union for their support in funding the programme, which has now branched out to include Savaii and rural areas of Upolu. The four sports included soccer, volleyball and athletics.
“The European Union began funding this training programme in 2019, and this is the first time that we have rolled it out in Savaii and in Safata and Siumu,” said Unasa.
On the Saturday after the trainings, the village of Tafitoala Safata then took the lead in conducting sports activities for children with intellectual disabilities, to ensure that the knowledge transferred can be applied by the volunteer coaches.
“It’s a good way of putting into action what they have learned over the training days,” said Unasa.
“There were four coaches who then led the practical activities, and the whole idea is that they gain the knowledge and experience, as well as the confidence to conduce regular programmes in the community on a regular basis, and not only when we come around.”
As part of their ongoing coaches development program, some of the volunteers will be joining the Special Olympics International Online Learning Portal Level 1 Coaches Training, held at Special Olympics Samoa offices in Vaitele-Uta.
“The online portal training allows more participants to join online, and enhance their skills and knowledge.”
Special Olympics Samoa was established in 2009 as a Non-Government Organisation to support the development of sports for children and persons with intellectual disabilities.
“Through the power of sport, Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people especially those with an intellectual disability,” reads the organisation’s vision statement.