The Athlete Got Talent is an initiative of Special Olympics Nigeria to showcase and promote the talents of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) in music, dance, and art using a unified approach.
The initiative commenced its first curriculum in August 2021, with a call for entry of unified teams (a person with and a person without ID paired). Those who met the selection criteria were admitted into a 3-month training program by certified professionals in Music, Dance, and Art. The participants were also taught how to use social media to promote their skills.
On the 4th of December, the 2021 pilot Athlete Got Talent initiative concluded with a grand finale in Ikeja, Lagos. The participating unified teams thrilled the audience in an entertaining and fun-filled way showcasing their fluid dance routines, captivating artwork, and enthralling musical performances.
Some highlights of the event were the electrifying group performance of the unified music and dance team members, the competitive performances of the unified teams, the recitals by students from invited special schools, and the performances by the guest artist.
The Manager, Initiatives Program, Ibiyemi Ayeni used the opportunity to commemorate World Disability Day 2021, by addressing the audience in a speech that was supported with a stage drama performed by the athletes. The message was a call urging all to stand for equal access to opportunities and services for people with intellectual disabilities as we work towards an inclusive and sustainable world. The event ended with an award and prize presentation to the winners of the competition in each category, and presentation of gift items to all participants.
In a continuous effort to change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities (PWID), Special Olympics Nigeria is currently successfully implementing the ID4I (Identification for Inclusion) solution powered by the Mission Billion Challenge, and supported by the partnership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
The solution aims to facilitate the registration and issuance of a unique and secure National Identification Number (NIN) to people living with intellectual disabilities and their families. Thus improving access to opportunities and services for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in our society and giving them further access to acquire vital documents and other social and welfare services beneficial to them.
The ID4I solution registration using a grassroot approach is currently ongoing in various special schools/inclusive schools within various local government areas across Lagos state. The activities entail coordinating information sessions for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families, providing orientation training to registration staff, and deploying mobile registration to capture biometrics within communities, hence encouraging the issuance of NIN to persons with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Nigeria believes pioneering this grassroot solution is key to driving inclusion and scaling up identification enrolment of PWIDs and their family members across Nigeria.
On the 9th of December 2021, Special Olympics Nigeria held the Skillz for Life Family Health Forum in Ojo – Badagry Axis of Lagos state, to educate people with intellectual disabilities, their family members and community about Malaria and HIV awareness and its prevention.
The event featured lots of fun-filled activities, including health talks on Malaria and HIV, voluntary counselling and testing for participants, and distribution of mosquito nets.
Several special schools for people with intellectual disabilities in the area were in attendance. They include: Aganju Aka Primary School Okokomaiko (Inclusive Unit), Lady Atinuke Oyindamola Memorial Home School, Badagry, Igbehinadun School for Physically and Mentally Challenged Children Okokomaiko, and our host school Community Primary School Afromedia, Ajangbadi, Okokomaiko (Inclusive Unit).
Family members and athletes who attended the event were very happy that the programme was brought to their area and looked forward to more Special Olympics Nigeria programming in their community.
The session provided information on Special Olympics Nigeria, and the Special Olympics movement. Delving into intellectual disabilities, the causes, the various types, their uniqueness, and how to recognize and relate with people with intellectual disabilities.
The goal of the session is to promote understanding of the different people with varying abilities as the process of registration of people with intellectual disabilities to obtain their National Identification Numbers (NIN).
The envisioned outcome is the recognition and continuous inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria.
Our appreciation to the Mission Billion challenge for their support and NIMC for partnering with us to implement this solution.
Building on the success of the Unified Art Project which was held in 2018, Special Olympics Nigeria is kicking off an initiative to showcase and promote the talent of people with intellectual disabilities (athletes) in entertainment.
The project tagged “Athlete Got Talent” aims to train interested athletes in Music, Dance, and Art over a 3-month period, thereafter they will compete at the grand finale event for the opportunity to be crowned winners in any of the three categories of the talent show.
Applications are now open and interested participants are urged to apply as a team of 2 comprising, a person with intellectual disability and a sibling without an intellectual disability on or before the 27th of August 2021.
📌 Interest and/or ability to either sing, dance, or draw.
📌 Each applying team should consist of 1 person with an intellectual disability and 1 sibling or family member without intellectual disability.
📌 Follow our Instagram handle @sonigeria.
📌 Form a team of 2 (1 person with intellectual disabilities (ID) and 1 sibling without ID).
📌 Make a 60seconds video clip showcasing your team’s talent. (Pick a category: Music, Dance, or Art).
📌 Post your video clip on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #AthleteGotTalent #sonigeria in your caption and tag us @sonigeria.
Alternatively, you can submit your video entries via WhatsApp to +2347032422294.
On the 15th of June 2021, Special Olympics Nigeria honoured her health partners with the Golisano Health Leadership Award at an award ceremony in Lagos State.
The recipients of this year’s awards are Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS), Max International, and Professor Folakemi Oredugba, a Special Olympics Nigeria Clinical Director.
These awards were presented in recognition of their amazing work and contribution towards advancing inclusive health, where people with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria can have continued access to quality healthcare services.
The Golisano Health Leadership Award is Special Olympics’ highest honor for Health Partner organizations and individuals.
Who We Are
Special Olympics Nigeria is an affiliate of Special Olympics International, a global non-profit organization created by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. We change lives by driving the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities (special needs) into society.
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