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Sports are one of the best ways to raise awareness on social inclusion and development and that’s why the fourth edition of the Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League, one the most significant adaptive sports initiative in the Asia Pacific region, will become a platform to advocate for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

While the details and levels of participation are still being worked out, the League is a great opportunity for corporate partners to promote social inclusion through a fresh approach. In the third edition held last year, together with strategic partners like the National Youth Council Embassy of Switzerland, Governance Facility and the title sponsor Turkish Airlines, we had a host of corporate houses, including BLC Group, Nabil Foundation, Civil Bank, D-Life Styles, and Fairfield by Marriot, Kantipur Publication, Four Season Travel and Tours and Thames College. The consortium included also not for profit organizations that contributed as Out Reach Partners, helping providing volunteers but also promoting the event on line and through their networks.

The League can become a platform for social change through partnerships. Below some examples:

Inclusive Youth Empowerment: corporates should be interested to support youth, especially those more disadvantaged like youth living with disabilities. Moreover the initiative brings together disable youth with their peers living without disabilities, creating new friendships and partnerships.

Establishing Meaningful Relationships: Last year we had an example of a senior corporate manager from one of the most important partners of the League embracing the initiative with her full heart, helping connecting with schools and bringing her son and husband to watch the games. This is a great example that goes beyond the CSR commitment as persons start appreciating and acknowledging persons living with disabilities. We had another example where the employees of one of our established League partners came over to learn playing wheelchair basketball with one of the teams participating in the League. Moreover youth living with disabilities are in need of “developmental” relationships, connections that can help them grow holistically. What a great idea would be if young professionals from corporate houses of the country would turned mentors of youth living with disabilities.

Towards an Inclusive Job Market: None of the corporate partners were asked to recruit youth with disabilities but one of them, also with the League since day one, decided to organize an internship program for a youth with hard of hearing and still now we are discussing about promoting financial literacy among citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is about inclusion but it is also an interesting business proposition. With another partner, we have been discussing about organizing an exposure visit for players and other youth with disabilities looking for inspirations and ready to broad their horizons towards professionalism.

Promoting SDGs: it might not be easy for a corporate to fully embrace the Sustainable Development Goals but the League offers a way to engage a corporate’s employees and their families to do so. Indeed while financial contributions always make the difference, there are many ways to promote and support the initiative, including encouraging staff and their families to come and watch the games and help with spreading the message through social Media. The SDGs are a framework whose implementation and achievement would be possible only through partnerships. Last year we had great business houses working with a coalition of not for profit partners, including Teach for Nepal, AYON, Duke of Edinburgh International Award and NSCISA, AIESEC and Mary Stopes Nepal and TRIFC.Surely we can do more on this aspect too, enabling cross-sector collaborations.

Local Government and more DPOs: this year the League will try its best to reach out and engage the Valley’s municipalities, including Kathmandu Metropolitan Council and Lalitpur Metropolitan City and their ward offices because local governments must play an essential role in enabling a more inclusive society. We will also double our efforts to involve and include other organizations run by persons living with disabilities that can help in many ways, including advocating and reclaiming their rights through sports.


Make it bigger: The League could really become the number one initiative in the Asia Pacific Region. I am talking about initiative and not just event because it is much more than just having games. It is also about massive awareness making in partnership with dozens of schools and colleges; it is about trainings with schools’ students on awareness and inclusive leadership. It can really become a best practice around the world and Nepal can be proud to be at the vanguard of mainstream disabilities through partnerships.

Galimberti is the Co-Founder of ENGAGE, an NGO partnering with youths living with disabilities. He can be reached at simone_engage@yahoo.com More info at https://www.facebook.com/engagenepal

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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