March 20, 2023

EU Co-funded Inclusive Healthy Lifestyle Groups in Schools project kicks off with first transnational Consortium meeting.

European Union flag reads: Co-funded by the European Union.

Special Olympics are delighted to announce a new health project which is co-funded by the EU. The project aims to develop and implement accessible and inclusive health promotion, fitness and well-being programs in special schools and institutions adapted to the needs of students with intellectual disabilities (ID). The Special Olympics “Inclusive Healthy Lifestyle Groups in Schools” (iHLGiS) is a three-year project funded under the EU4Health program for the “HealthyLifestyle4All” initiative. The activities will be led by peer-to-peer groups with and without ID supported by mentors and health experts with focus to healthy nutrition and hydration, regular health enhancing physical activity, mental health and health literacy in schools adopting the concept of “health promoting schools”.

The project consortium consists of four Special Olympics (SO) program partners including SO Estonia, SO Poland, SO Berlin and SO Hellas (Greece) and a research partner, the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. The project aims to reach over 100 schools, over 4000 students with and without ID and engaging with community stakeholders and cross sectoral engagement.

“Reaching out to the youth in schools with a health program through sports will be a great opportunity to continue and extend our work with schools carrying the legacy of the Special Olympic World Games 2023 in Berlin. The Project is targeting essential goals for Special Olympics Berlin to bring up a new generation of young people with and without ID that will include sports and a healthy lifestyle to their daily routine from an early age. Combining that with the idea of Unified Sports® will go even further for the participants and is the next step for an inclusive community.”

Philipp Bertram, CEO of SO Berlin.

“This project will bring our Special Olympics Health portfolio into schools promoting healthy lifestyle to tackle common health challenges people with ID face already in young age. Schools are the perfect environment to combine education, healthy lifestyle choices and health enhancing physical exercises through peer-to-peer approach and through the engagement of teachers, parents and other community stakeholders” says Bjoern Koehler, Director SO Health programs in the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia region.