Digicel’s $30,000 backing for Special Olympics

By Aruna Lolani ,

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AN EIGHT YEAR PARTNERSHIP: Digicel donates a $30,000 sponsorship cheque to Special Olympics Samoa.

AN EIGHT YEAR PARTNERSHIP: Digicel donates a $30,000 sponsorship cheque to Special Olympics Samoa. (Photo: Chloe Fa’ai’uaso)

Digicel has continued its support for Special Olympics Samoa by presenting a $30,000 cheque to Chairperson, Leta’a Daniel Devoe, and Athlete Board Member, Thomas McFall, yesterday.

The money was presented by Digicel’s Pacific Hub Chief Executive Officer, Colin Stone, further cementing the eight-year partnership between the two bodies.  

“Since our inception here, this is a cause very close to both our hearts here in Samoa but also regionally and globally for Digicel,” Mr. Stone said.

“Our chairperson Denis O’Brien encourages us to ensure that we can do everything possible to support the Special Olympics, not only in Samoa but across the globe from a Digicel perspective.

“We’ve been avid supporters since 2009. We’re always encouraged to raise awareness for the Special Olympics cause both here in Samoa and globally.

“I understand that the Special Olympics is going from a handful of athletes to now over 400 and just talking to Leta’a, what they do in terms of not only for the athletes but the coaches is very important in raising the awareness both for the grassroots level and the national level and we’re here, as I said Digicel continues to support that.

“We’re looking forward, obviously to the National Games here in Samoa but also continuing our support into 2019 and beyond where some of the athletes will go to Abu Dhabi for Special Olympics and Digicel will continue our support through that process.

“I think it was 13 medals last time and we look forward to help them come with even more this time.”

Special Olympics Samoa Chairperson, Leta’a said the sponsorship money would go a long way to help them with their goals.

 “We are thankful because you know that the Special Olympics is a non-government organization and we try to improve the status of our people with disabilities but not only in sports but also to be included in other programmes in the community,” he said.

 “Special Olympics focuses on people with intellectual disabilities. It’s good to have them included in sports because sports is a medium where we can mix together, you know people with disabilities and people without disabilities and especially now Special Olympics and other sporting bodies are working together to have unified sports and this time we’re preparing for a cricket team, soccer team, netball team and some athletes to travel to Dubai in 2019 February.

“So it’s exciting, it’s great to have assistance from Digicel and Denis O’Brien, the Managing Director, the owner of Digicel was the one who encouraged Samoa to become a member of the Special Olympics International and we are very proud to represent our Special Olympics in Samoa.” 

National Director of Special Olympics Samoa, Tusitina Nu’uvali, said their programme continues to grow.

 “We would ask for anybody that wants to be part of this, to be a volunteer in any specialty or any expertise that you can share with. It’s not all about sports, it’s way beyond sports.

“Please come on board, we need to recruit anybody or everybody this moment so that we’re just using sports as a tool to engage and recognize the abilities of those with intellectual abilities.

“Leta’a touched on unified programmes that we have, this is a programme that brings everybody without intellectual abilities because we believe in how powerful sports is to bring people together regardless of our differences. 

“We have witnessed these 400 athletes, the ability that they bring to the table when they actually play, they really break down barriers. When people see them play, they see what they can do instead of what they can’t do.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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