Local telecom giant Dhiraagu will host a 'Special Sports Festival' for children with special needs on October 29 at Henveiru Football Stadium.
Bishara Hameedh, Marketing and Communication Manager of Dhiraagu, stated that the purpose of the festival is to encourage schools and NGOs to promote inclusion of disabled children and empower them.
According to Dhiraagu, 390 students from 11 schools in the capital Male’ region are set participate in the Special Sports Festival.
Numerous sports activities will be held at the festival, including a category specialized for severely challenged children. These will include boccia, a target ball sport which can be played by those restricted to wheelchairs, and a sock game for autistic children.
Dhiraagu will collaborate with several NGOs such as the Maldives Association for Physical Disables (MAPD), Beautiful eyes down syndrome, Care Society and Maldives Autism Association (MAA) for the sports festival.
Competitive activities are to be held in preparation for the festival this Wednesday at the Ekuveni Sports Complex.
According to Fathmath Jameel, the Special Education Coordinator for Billabong High and Kangaroo Kids, stated that each child can take part in a maximum of two games in order to maximize participation.
Ahmed Mohamed, the Chairman of MAPD, also stated that children who participate in the upcoming festival will get the opportunity to take part in international competitions.
Ahmed stated that while Maldives has the opportunity to participate in the Asian Paralympic Games, the ultimate goal is to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
While Dhiraagu has been holding the series of festivals since 2011, it remains the only company which hosts a sports festival for children with special needs.
The telecommunications company gladly noted that turnout has been increasing annually since then, despite only 17 children participating in the first sports festival.