Rallying call for volunteers for Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi

3,000 supporters needed as countdown continues to sporting spectacle


By Time Out Dubai Staff

© ITP Images

Big-hearted helpers are being urged to lend their support to two huge sporting events hitting the capital – and show they have the Olympic spirit

An army of 23,000 volunteers are needed to support the Special Olympics IX Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Games next year and the Special Olympics Abu Dhabi World Games 2019 and registration is now open.

The two events celebrate the sporting achievements of competitors with special needs and learning difficulties all over the world.

People from all over the UAE will be able to play their part in a whole host of tasks, including issuing credentials, supporting online outreach, coordinating events, assisting sports officials and much more.

While some roles require specialised and advanced skills – for many all you need is a positive attitude and a willingness to pitch in.

The first 3,000 volunteers are being called upon to support next year’s MENA games.

It is expected that hundreds of potential volunteers will sign up over the coming days.

To coincide with the launch of the programme, the Ministry of Community Development and Emirates Foundation announced their support for the Special Olympics Games in Abu Dhabi.

The announcement took place on the final day of Emirates Foundation Youth Summit 2017 in the presence of Her Excellency Hessa Bint Eisa Bu Humaid Minister of Community Development, His Excellency Mohammad Abdullah Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi World Games Higher Committee and Her Excellency Maytha Al Habsi, Deputy CEO of Emirates Foundation.

The MENA Games will take place from March 17 to 22 and over 1,200 athletes of all abilities will descend upon Abu Dhabi to take part in the Games, which will be the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Athletes will take part in 16 different sports in seven venues across Abu Dhabi.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, said: “We are excited to launch our volunteer programme and look forward to welcoming thousands of people to get involved in the biggest humanitarian volunteer effort to date in the UAE. Special Olympics volunteers will play a major role in the success of one of the world’s biggest and most inspiring events and will help to transform the lives of thousands of individuals and families by launching a new era of inclusion, hope and understanding and we are extremely grateful for their support.”

The MENA Games and World Games are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people with disabilities into everyday society. The World Games will take place in 2019 and require 20,000 volunteers. Registration to volunteer for the World Games will open at a later date. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Volunteers must be at least 14-years old and commit to a minimum of three days during the Games. All volunteers will be required to attend 16-hours of training ahead of the Games and there will be opportunities for those with and without intellectual disabilities to get involved.
To register to volunteer, visit:

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