Through its connection to the London 2012 Games, International Inspiration is aiming to enrich the lives of 12 million children and young people in 20 countries around the world through the power of high-quality sport, PE and play.
Many of these children have been marginalised and excluded from the communities they live in and even from their families because of their disability, but International Inspiration is setting out to change that. It is using sport and play to challenge social exclusion, engage all children in their education and community life and create leaders and role models of young people who were previously left on the fringes.
I am honoured to be an International Inspiration Ambassador and as part of my role, I was lucky enough to travel to Jordan last year to gain a real sense of how the programme is having a positive impact on children living in the country. I saw for myself how International Inspiration is inspiring them and giving them opportunities in life which they may otherwise not have had the chance to experience.
And it is not just children and disabled young people in Jordan who are benefiting from the programme.
In Malaysia, a recent sports festival brought children from special education and mainstream schools together for the first time, and in Bangladesh, Government girls’ schools have been organising local games and festivals for children living with a disability, when they would previously have been excluded.
These success stories are just a selected snapshot of how International Inspiration is using sport to help children and young people to transform their lives and be part of a society where they have a right to belong.
With 18 months left on the clock before the Olympic and Paralympic Games begin, there will, I hope, be many more stories like these. And on the day we acknowledge the rights of people living with a disability around the world, I am immensely proud of the legacy that International Inspiration is creating.