Within the framework of the #WeAreTogether International Forum of Civil Participation, a restart of the volunteers’ application campaign for the Special Olympics 2022 World Winter Games in Kazan was announced. The Forum brings together the leaders of the non-profit sector, socially responsible business and media industry. Special Olympics Russia President Olga Sloutsker delivered a speech at the session “From inequality and exclusion to cohesion and integration: main drivers of the inclusive society development.”
The total volunteers’ need for the Games will amount to 2,200 people. Due to the Games postponement to 2023, the volunteers’ selection was put on hold. During the application campaign, 5,875 people have applied. Traditionally, candidates for the volunteers of international sports projects are required to speak English and be willing to participate in the Games throughout the entire period of their staging. Having passed the selection, prospective volunteers shall complete a compulsory training, including a special training program. You can join the team of volunteers at the Games official website.
Olga Sloutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia said, “People with intellectual disabilities can also become a part of the volunteers’ team, and there is a list of positions for them to get selected for. I am sure that for people with intellectual disabilities, volunteering, among other things, can serve as a huge asset for further employment. After all, it is through voluntary activity that you can easily determine for yourself whether you are ready for work, communication in a team, and labor conditions.”
Tatiana Baranova, Special Olympics athlete: “I am delighted that the volunteers program is in palce again. Special Olympics World Games are not about winning, it’s about hanging out with friends. I am confident that together we will make unforgettable memories.”
Within the framework of the “From inequality and exclusion to cohesion and integration: main drivers of the inclusive society development” session, the issues and main drivers of the development of an inclusive society from the perspective of access to education, sports and employment in practice were discussed by the President of Special Olympics of Russia Olga Sloutsker, Deputy Director of the Department of State Policy in the Field of Protection of Children’s Rights of the Ministry of Education of Russia Yulia Sachko, Elena Kovaleva, Director for External Relations, Communications and Sustainable Development of the Coca-Cola Company in Russia and Belarus, as well as other representatives of public foundations and businesses. The speakers shared their corporate and personal experience, debated the employers and job seekers’ motivation, challenges, results and gave practical recommendations.
Elena Kovaleva, Director for External Relations, Communications and Sustainable Development of the Coca-Cola Company in Russia and Belarus: “Coca-Cola in Russia is a long-term partner of Special Olympics that has been for many years implementing projects aimed at developing an inclusive society in Russia: it supports inclusive competitions; together with partners, creates accessible sports and playing grounds for children and adolescents with special needs; implements initiatives in the field of inclusive employment. So, we already have a positive experience in the employment of athletes from Special Olympics Russia: we attract children to be engaged in the project teams at the sites of major sporting events that we support. For example, during the UEFA EURO 2020™ European Football Championship, Special Olympics athletes worked as merchandisers. We intend to scale this experience in the future and look forward to interacting with the members of Special Olympics volunteers movement as well”.
As part of the #WeAreTogether Forum, there was held a solemn ceremony of launching the “Christmas Coca-Cola Caravan” – this year it runs in support of Special Olympics movement in Russia. During December, the Caravan will have an online trip across 10 Russian cities, virtually starting in Vladivostok and finishing in Moscow. Anyone can join the Caravan. To do this, through December 3 to December 28 you need to record any physical activity in the Caravan application: from walking to sports activities that will then be converted into “magic energy” to make the Caravan move on. After the Caravan’s finish in Moscow, Coca-Cola will transfer a charitable contribution to support the regional centers of Special Olympics Russia. Thus, an important unifying step will be this way taken to build an inclusive society in our country.
Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 will be held in Kazan in January 2023. The sports program of the Games includes competitions in 7 sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating and snowshoeing. Athletes with intellectual disabilities and unified partners will take part in the competition.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Learn more: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and blog on Medium. More information on www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Russia
Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programs in the global Special Olympics movement. In Russia, around 130,000 people with intellectual disabilities are involved in physical education and about 5,000 physical culture events of the municipal, regional and all Russian levels are held annually under the Special Olympics Russia program. Currently there are Special Olympics regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in international tournaments annually in the Special Olympics Russia program with athletes occupying various leadership positions.
Coca-Cola in Russia
Coca-Cola in Russia unites Coca-Cola Soft Drink Consulting LLC, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia LLC and Multon JSC, and is one of the leaders in production of high-quality soft drinks and one of the largest investors in the Russian economy. To date, the Coca-Cola system investment in Russia exceeds $ 6 billion. More than 95% of ingredients and materials from Russian suppliers are used for the production of all drinks in Russia.
Coca-Cola in Russia provides workplaces for nearly 7,000 highly skilled workers and creates more than 60,000 additional jobs in related industries.
In Russia, the product line includes high-quality soft drinks: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, Coca-Cola Energy, Fanta, Sprite, Powerade, BonAqua, Smartwater, AdeZ, Schweppes, Innocent, Dobry Juice, Rich, Moya Semya Juice, Dobry Pulpy, Fuze Tea, BotanIQ.
In Russia, Coca-Cola implements a socially responsible policy and is proud to be an integral part of Russian life and an active participant in the country's economic development. Also, over the years, the company has been supporting the development of an inclusive society. The Coca-Cola Company is an Official Co-Founding Partner of Special Olympics. With the support of Coca-Cola in Russia in 2023, the Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held for the first time in our country, in Kazan. The company also builds inclusive playgrounds for children and adolescents together with the Naked Heart Foundation, implements the Unified Leadership program, attracts people with intellectual disabilities to work at major sports competitions, which it partners with, and implements other social initiatives.