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UN in Indonesia May-June 2010

UN in Indonesia May-June 2010

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Going the Distance for the MDGs
- World-famous long-distance swimmer MarcosDiaz arrived in Jakarta on 20May after beginning his questbecome the first man ever toswim across the fivecontinents of the planet, in aneffort to promote the UnitedNations MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDGs).He was accompanied byaccompanied by Ambassador Hans Dannenberg Castellanoof the Dominican Republic andby a core group of supportingteam members.“I feel committed tocontributing to thedevelopment of the countriesand promoting initiatives thathelp to turn the world into abetter place for all”, Diaz said.Diaz had recently finished thefirst leg of his swims toconnect the five continentswith a 19.4 km crossing fromPapua New Guinea toIndonesia (Oceania to Asia).He has since moved on toJordan to swim across the RedSea and reach the shores of Egypt (Asia to Africa).While in Jakarta, Diazwas welcomed by the Ministryof Foreign Affairs with a pressconference chaired by Mr.Ghafur Akbar Dharmaputra,the Director for EconomicDevelopment andEnvironmental Affairs. Alsopresent were Foreign Ministryspokesman Teuku Faizasyahand Amb. DannenbergCastellanos, among others.Mr. Dharmaputra told the pressthat Diaz’s swim is “not only ademonstration of how strongwill and determination canactually make someone go thedistance but also a conduit to
BRINGINGCOUNTRIES ANDPEOPLESTOGETHER:Marcos Diaz gets awarm welcome inIndonesia after bravingtreacherous watersin a long-distanceswim from PapuaNew Guinea.
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The sun is just rising on theVelodroom Stadium in Rawamangun, eastJakarta, when 16 year old Juliwati Japi arrivesfor a regular training session held by SpecialOlympics Indonesia (SOIna). Juli, as she isknown, joined SOIna in 2004, two years after she moved to Jakarta from her home city of Sampit, Central Kalimantan.Like all of the SOIna athletes, Juli is a childwith intellectual disabilities. She was born withDown’s Syndrome - a condition in which extragenetic material causes delays in the way achild develops, both mentally and physically.Despite the challenges of her disability, shehas participated in many international sportsevents – her biggest achievement being whenshe ran in fourth place in athletics at the 2007Special Olympics World Summer Games inShanghai, China.Juli, who has barely skipped her Saturdayroutine with SOIna, was most excited that dayaccording to Mrs. Iih, Juli’s auntie who has alsobeen her chaperone.“She is wearing specially the official jersey of Special Olympics Indonesia that she wore atthe Shanghai Olympic Games, because shewas told that today she would meet with a realchampion,” Mrs. Iih explains. She is referring toMarcos Diaz - a world ultra distance swimmer from the Dominican Republic, who isscheduled to visit the training session today tomeet and talk with the young athletes of SOIna.When Diaz, who holds the World Record for swimming back and forth across the Gibraltar Straits, arrives at the training ground, Juli issitting on a tribune in one corner of the stadiumwith all of her fellow young athletes and their parents and chaperones. A big smile crossesher face when Marcos starts talking – clearlyshe is a huge admirer.
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voice the critical urgency of addressing the most pressingchallenge in humandevelopment agenda:achieving the globalMillennium DevelopmentGoals.”“Swim Across the Continents”is the name of this ambitiousproject that has the officialendorsement of the UnitedNations and was created bythe Marcos Diaz Foundation,a charity founded by thetalented Dominican swimmer.Through “Swim Across theContinents”, Marcos wants tobuild support and demandaction from world leaders atthe United Nations Summit onthe Millennium DevelopmentGoals (20-22 September inNew York) where he hopes topresent signatures fromaround the world in support of the MDGs.With only five years left untilthe 2015 target date toachieve the Goals, theSummit will bring together world leaders to reviewprogress and lessons learntand adopt a global action planfor accelerating progress onthe MDGs.
JuliwatiJapi: I want tobe achampion!
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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

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