Hi guys! My name is Selma Aličić and I am a student of Electrical Engineering, major in Telecommunications. Now, you probably expect that I will talk about a project that is related to my profession but let me tell you that you are wrong. You will read an article about a project named “Friendly competition of Special Olympic – PARALLEL ” which was held from 23th to 26th April in Tuzla in which I was a part of the organization board.
The overall objective of this project was to enable the children and youth with intellectual disabilities to develop through sport activities; to make it possible for them to have active participation in training and competitions; to do an equalization of opportunities. This will directly influence the improvement of the quality of life and development of children and young people with intellectual disabilities.
Now, when you know what this project is about, you probably realize how big a challenge it was for me. I was the first and only student from my Faculty that took part in it and this was my first time to get a chance to spend time with children with intellectual disabilities.
Everything started last year in September, when my friend, who is one of the coordinators of this project, invited me to join. The activities have started a lot before the Olympics, which is why I think that this is a really big project that requires dedication, will and hard work. Activities included workshops, training, visits with children, marking some of the important dates, birthdays, etc. During those activities, I had a chance to meet and spend time with children with disabilities. After the first event when I came home I felt very emotional. I felt guilty for even considering not taking part in this project because of the gratitude we got from children for just spending a few hours with them. This is when I decided to give my best for this project.
The organization of the Olympics went without any problems. As I already said, I was the only person from my faculty and the only engineering student. I tried to transfer some of the knowledge I had and believed that would be useful to this project to other coordinators. It was surprisingly easy to cooperate with others. I believe the reason for that was that all of us had the same intention: to create a more inclusive world. This project gave me so much experience in working outside of my comfort zone.
Now, let’s get back to the competition that was the crown of the project. The competition took part in 4 different sports: basketball, table tennis, football and athletics. The first day of the Olympics we had a competition in basketball. After everything was done, the competitors had a festive walk through the city center and a party in the city square. People in the city were amazed and went outside of the coffee shops to look at our competitors. This was a really special moment for everyone. Next day we had a competition in table tennis at the Faculty of Physical Education and football at city stadium “Tušanj”. Now, I have to commend all of the volunteers of Friendly Competition of Special Olympics “PARALLEL” for doing extraordinary work during this project. Students are the ones that organized, planned, set and implemented everything. The third day we had a competition in athletics and “healthy program” for our competitors. “Healthy program” was very important because a lot of competitors have never been a part of it. The last day we had a closing ceremony and parent forum where we talked about the Olympics.
The moments I spent with children are priceless. I cannot explain the feeling you get when a child gives you a hug, which is the strongest one I got in 23 years of my life. The sincere smile and a nice word cannot be bought. This is a project that keeps going on, we are not finished with the Olympics, it is just a crown of each year’s work. I sincerely recommend to every person to join this project and to feel the happiness of children with disabilities by including them in our regular activities!