The Football for Hope (FFH) is a FIFA sponsored initiative designed to focus on empowering and socially integrating people with intellectual disability (ID) through skills acquisition, unified football training and competition.
The pilot phase of the program commenced from the 15th of June to December 2017 in Lagos State. In 2018, the program took place in both Lagos and Oyo State (South West Region) and reached a total number of 266 participants (athletes/partners) and 50 coaches.
Special Olympics Nigeria has partnered with a number of indigenous vocational instructors to deliver training sessions built on an active, experimental and practical methods of learning on the following skills; event decoration, tie & dye, making of bridal accessories/beads, soaps, insecticide/air freshener and barbing (cutting of hair for men).
The course curriculum includes but is not limited to; intensive football trainings, a football tournament, skills acquisition training, festival and a graduation event at the end of program. From 2017 to date, a total of 70 coaches have been trained and 15 vocational skills instructors and 349 (athletes and partners) have participated in the FFH initiative within 17 communities
Football has served as a common denominator that levels the playing field between the marginalized class and the rest of society through its unique power and universality.
SO Nigeria has successfully used football as an inclusive tool to bring people together, impact lives and tackle problems faced by people with intellectual disabilities such as: social stigma, exploitation, prejudice, fear, exclusion from family or social life and discrimination in a fun and interactive learning environment.
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