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Disabled young person to South Africa - 2010Michael

Michael Athanaselis, a disabled youngster from West Lothian, Scotland is seeking to travel to South Africa in February 2010 to help develop his leadership skills. Michael is 15 years-old, and has been registered disabled since he was four. He suffers from a range of disabilities, but this has not stopped him from taking on new challenges.

Michael is undertaking a course in Sport & Recreation and working towards a Sports Leaders Award at Inveralmond Community High School, in Ladywell, Livingston. The school has a partnership with Osizweni Special School in Mpumalanga, South Africa through the British Council's Dreams & Teams programme. This programme is based on developing young leaders in both schools and their respective communities and Michael is part of a group of Inveralmond students who are travelling to South Africa to work alongside South African staff and young leaders, planning and delivering sporting activities culminating in a sports festival at the school.

Michael has been awarded 250 by the JWCT to help him achieve his dream. His teacher, Zoe Forrest, explained “the benefits . . . to Michael are immeasurable - he is already growing in confidence through the leadership work he has done in school and working with local primary and special needs students. He is developing greater independence which is particularly significant for Michael . . . This experience will serve [him] greatly when it comes to applications for college and jobs in later life – [he is] developing skills which are transferable in any walk of life and will be able to talk about [his] experiences of building these skills in a cross-cultural setting.”

Michael has also undertaken some of his own fundraising, including completing a 5km fun run and supporting a range of school and community events.


April 2010

Michael’s mother Lila sent the following update:

“Michael went to South Africa with the Dreams & Teams scheme run by the British Council. He firstly went to a conference with other school teachers and children studying sports leadership and was helped along with three other children who went on the trip to read a presentation about his course and what it involves. After this weekend they were taken to their base where they visited the special school in Mbumbalanga; they helped the children in their school work, planned a sport festival and got involved in all sports there everyday. This helped build Michael's confidence and gave him ideas for what he wanted to study when he leaves school involving sports and travel. After this week, the group had a weekend at Kruger National Park. The last week was spent again at the special school and at a nearby high school where more of the same work took place regarding sports and planning. I cannot thank you enough for helping in Michael's trip, it helped pay for his accommodation for the different places Michael had to stay at during his stay.”

The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust
a charity registered in England and Wales. No. 1114871