The new International Expect a Better Tomorrow Day initiative for 2019 is now official. In launching Funkisfonden (the Special Athletes Fund), Sigma and Danir aim to bring into focus our athletes with disabilities and specifically those with intellectual disabilities; to support them and give them a voice. They want to tell the story of all those people who practice and compete, despite the fact that the availability of and accessibility to sport are not always the best.
Funkisfonden also aims to serve as an inspiration for anyone who has an intellectual disability, so that they too realise that they can have dreams and goals, both in the area of sport or elsewhere. Dreams that can actually come true. Funkisfonden wants to make sure that the plight of these athletes is given a number one spot on the agenda but also see the possibility of giving financial support. Next year, 2019, it is time for the Special Olympics World Summer Games. The games will be held in Abu Dhabi from 14-21 March. Our Swedish participants are part of Special Olympics Sweden, which currently has a very limited budget. As it is now, they cannot send as many athletes as they would like to the special games. Sigma and Funkisfonden want to help more athletes participate in future sports adventures of this type.
In addition to being a voice for our athletes and a source of inspiration for those who have started on their sporting path, Funkisfonden will be a pledge drive. Anyone who wants, individuals or companies, can contribute and help raise money so that Special Olympics Sweden will be able to send a larger troop of athletes to the next Special Olympics World Games. Another area of focus is to boost the economic resources used to support the athletes and to help more people find their sport and become more active.
Funkisfonden also wants to raise awareness, amongst the general public, that people with intellectual disabilities generally have more health problems than others in Sweden and that it is extremely important that sports and exercise become more accessible to this group of people. Many people with intellectual disabilities go through school without doing any physical education, and many of those athletes who compete today started in sport when they became adults. There are not many sports associations that have the organization or resources in place to be able to cater for the needs of intellectually disabled athletes but Funkisfonden wants to change that.
International Expect a better tomorrow day for the second consecutive year
Sigma instituted the “International Expect a better tomorrow day” on New Year’s Eve 2017; there were days for most other things, so why not a day for a better tomorrow? Behind “Expect a better tomorrow-day” is Sigma’s desire to contribute to a more equal and fair society. Their first project, Segerpotten, brought to light the economic situation of women’s football and also raised over a quarter of a million kronor for Piteå IF who won the Swedish Women’s League in 2018. This, in turn, inspired a local businessman who donated yet another quarter of a million to the club.
Funkisfonden will bring into focus the stories of those unknown heroes, who, despite the fact that all the odds are against them, never give up their struggle to excel and compete with athletes from around the world,” says Johan Glennmo, CEO of Danir.
– In the same way as we used Segerpotten and women’s football to highlight society’s challenges when it comes to gender equality, we want to use the Funkisfonden to focus on people with intellectual disabilities and the challenges they face in society, says Johan Glennmo.
– We also believe that, through Funkisfonden where both companies and individuals can donate, we will be able to contribute with some much-needed financial support and thereby help our Swedish athletes with intellectual disabilities, continues Johan Glennmo.
– Another important area we must focus on is that of raising awareness to the fact that people with intellectual disabilities have more health problems than the average person. More people need to know about this and also that sports and a more active lifestyle can turn that around, adds Johan Glennmo.
– Sigma’s decision to focus on and promote athletes with intellectual disabilites means a great deal for the future development of Special Olympics Sweden. People with intellectual disabilities make up 80% of the para athlete group, but they are the ones with the least resources and we need all the help we can get if we are to be able to change this situation. We need to increase knowledge and nurture interest so that more people will be able to enjoy what everyone should be entitled to, that is to become active, and I think Funkisfonden is onto a good thing,” says Linnéa Björndahl, Head of Special Olympics Sweden.