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Marcos shares with the children how he usedto suffer from a chronic asthma in his earlyyears, but that he has overcome it since hebecame a swimmer.“I encourage you to keep on training, becausesports help you to make you strong andconfident,“ he tells the youngsters.Marcos, who is also a trainer for SpecialOlympics children in his country, adds, “Thereare many children out there don’t have theopportunity to develop their potential. You arelucky being with the Special Olympics, who canhelp provide that opportunity.”Special Olympics Indonesia is a nonprofit andnongovernment organisation, accredited by theglobal Special Olympics organization thattargets almost 200 million people withintellectual disabilities around the world throughsport activities. Indonesia became the 79thmember of the Special Olympics in 1989, andnow organizes a National Special OlympicsGames for Indonesian children every four years, normally one year ahead of the WorldSpecial Olympics Games.This year, UNICEF Indonesia has partneredwith SoIna to help promote the importance of inclusion for children, regardless of their circumstances. Social and economic exclusionare major barriers to development for millionsof Indonesian children, in areas such aseducation, health and protection.“Disparities in Indonesia are a critical challengethat we need to address, if Indonesia is tomove closer to achieving the MillenniumDevelopment Goals, and if we are to ensurethat every child benefits from the incredibleeconomic progress that the country hasenjoyed in recent years,” explains UNICEFRepresentative Angela Kearney.“SOIna is demonstrating in a very tangible way just how much Indonesian children can achievewhen provided with equality of opportunity, freeof stigma or exclusion – and these youngathletes themselves are role models to us all.”Juli has also been inspired by her own rolemodel, Marcos. After talking and taking pictureswith her champion, Juli tells her auntie that shewants to be like the swimmer.“Juli has been preparing herself to compete inthe National Special Olympics Games,” saysMrs. Iih, as she goes onto explain how theyoung woman will compete in running andswimming in the National Games, to be stagedin Jakarta from 26 – 30 June 2010.Given her determination to excel, Marcos Diazmight be forgiven for worrying at the potentialcompetition.
For more info, please visit www.soina.or.id .
“Disparities in Indonesia are a criticalchallenge that we need to address, if Indonesia is to move closer to achievingthe Millennium Development Goals”
- Angela Kearney,UNICEF Representative