Sports day for children with disabilities
More than a hundred children with disabilities from various schools on Upolu took part in a sports day at the Football Federation Fields, Tuanaimato on Friday.
The event is an annual programme facilitated by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) and has been running for more than 10 years.
The ministry's representative and programme coordinator, Visesio Ah-Yek, said the sports day aims to provide equal opportunities for children with disabilities.
“We focus on sports as one of key element to provide the participants with the chance to develop skills in sports but also to have fun while playing. And while they are playing they are exercising and that can keep them fit and healthy to avoid the various diseases that are affecting our people," she said.
“There is a collaborative effort with National Rugby League, Netball association, Cricket association, and Samoa Football Federation in facilitating the games with the students.
“Over a hundred children from Fia Malamalama School, Loto Taumafai School, Senese Inclusive Education Support Service but also we have invited Aele Primary School, Vaimoso Primary School, and members of the Special Olympics team who are taking part,” said Mr. Ah-Yek.
Loto Taumafai School teacher Vaiana Otto supported the initiative adding the programme has significant benefits to the lives of the children.
“The students are always excited and look forward to the sporting event and it is a good time for them to enjoy their educational journey through sports because sports are one of the subjects taught in school.
“At these event students are mixed together from various schools and they enjoy the new friendships built from these experiences but another key aspect is that children with disabilities require a lot exercise and these games will help them physically."