"Exercise is extremely important for every child. Children with intellectual disabilities are sometimes neglected and do not have sufficient access to various activities and services. It is through sport that they can be with their peers, feel socially significant and make friends, be supported and have their needs met.”


With these words the Chairperson of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Eleonora Lilova welcomed the participants in the International Conference "Empowerment of young people with intellectual disabilities through sports – children’s rights in sports", organized by Special Olympics Bulgaria, Foundation “Pro Sport", European Law Society and Special Olympics Serbia, which took place on December 10, 2020.


The purpose of the event is to provide a forum for discussion on the challenges and good practices for the development of sport as a tool for empowerment and social inclusion, including the promotion of volunteering and guaranteeing children's rights in the field of sport.  


"Children with intellectual disabilities need physical activity just like all other children. Sport can help them build confidence, get to know other children and express themselves. That is why it is important to take every opportunity to motivate and support children with intellectual disabilities and their parents by facilitating their inclusion and quality of life through their participation in sports activities. Every child with intellectual disabilities has the right to lead a fulfilling life in conditions that ensure their dignity, promote independence and facilitate their active participation in society. Children can learn to accept each other, to be tolerant and not isolate those who are different from them, namely through sports." said Dr. Lilova.


She expressed her gratitude to Special Olympics Bulgaria for the efforts in the noble cause of building a better united world for all children.


The conference also included an official ceremony for the presentation of the annual “ProSport 2020” awards, which are given for the development of volunteering in sports and its social mission.


For another year the event was supported by the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Krasen Kralev, the Mayor of Sofia Ms. Yordanka Fandakova, Dr. Jane Muita - UNICEF Representative for Bulgaria, representatives of government institutions and NGOs.


The conference is part of the Erasmus+ project of the European Union. The partners in it are Special Olympics Bulgaria, Special Olympics Bosnia and Herzegovina, Special Olympics Serbia, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Yanets Levcha Center - Ljubljana, Association for Human Rights and Social Society (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina) “To Ergastiri”- Greece.