The Juan XXIII Foundation, an entity that has been working for more than 55 years for the social and labor inclusion of people in situations of psychosocial vulnerability, especially with intellectual disabilities and/or mental illness, will be the only Spanish representation in Par-Olympia, the sporting event international organized by the Greek Paralympic Committee and co-financed by the European Union, which will take place in Athens from this Wednesday to October 4.

The objective of this meeting, which will bring together a total of 250 young people at the OAKA, 100 of them with disabilities, from 12 different European countries to carry out different activities and adapted sports for eight days, is to achieve a diverse and inclusive society at through sport, although without any competitive spirit

And among the 14 participating organizations will be the Juan XXIII Foundation Sports Club, the only Spanish organization to participate in this meeting with a total of 13 people, seven of them with disabilities.

As indicated by the foundation, its sports club has offered access to leisure and sports activities to people with intellectual disabilities since 1998, “granting them a fundamental right that is often restricted.” “Sport offers great benefits for all people, but, in the case of those with disabilities, especially intellectual ones, it also becomes a tool for their inclusion in society since it fosters bonds, helps develop social skills and promotes the feeling of belonging to the group,” they added.

For this reason, participation in Par-Olympia becomes a unique opportunity for these young people to feel that they can break barriers and stigmas and be closer to a more inclusive society. In addition, this meeting also advocates for equity in the participation of women and immigrant groups so that they are part of the sports and physical activities that will be carried out.

“We are completely aligned with the objective of Par-Olympia and happy to participate in this great international event. These types of initiatives allow us to make visible the need for a more inclusive society and join forces to carry out actions that jointly move towards the inclusion of all This is how we also improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, disseminate our work and raise awareness about inclusion,” celebrates José María Escudero, head of the Leisure and Sports area of ​​the Juan XXIII Foundation.

For his part, Ismael Bakkali, one of the members of the Sports Club who has traveled to Athens, believes that participating in this event “is an opportunity to meet people from other countries, a city like Athens and new sports.” “I love the sport and I’m going to make the most of Par-Olympia,” he confessed.