Special Needs and Euro 2012

We have been hearing some rumblings about the extravagant funds that were needed to properly co-host Euro 2012. And for what? If you’re not a sports enthusiast, and particularly futbol, do you really care that stadiums were upgraded? Do you really care about the huge fan zones, added security, tourists? Some businesses — particularly beer and alcohol companies — will certainly see a spike in income…but maybe only temporarily.

Flowers are beautifully displayed throughout the city. Will these new gardens and window boxes be cared for after the final game is played in Kyiv?

Was any of the money spent on lasting projects…that will benefit those other than fans?

I think most people would agree that improvement of the roads has been a real blessing to anyone traveling around the country. Some folks might believe that English being posted and spoken on the metro lines has been a help for foreigners…and Ukrainians wishing to learn English. Certainly Andrievsky Uzviz is sporting a fresh new appearance.

Thank you, Euro 2012.

But, I was most encouraged by an article I read today about the improvements being made for the handicapped and disabled. These changes will affect countless Ukrainians as they maneuver around the cities. Not just fans. And not for just one month.

And the process that took place to evaluate whether buildings, sidewalks, stadiums were handicap-accessible has changed the view for many involved.

As Ukraine Medical Outreach continues to reach out to those that society has neglected, we are striving to empower health-care providers and families caring for those with special needs. May these structural improvements be just the beginning of a new awareness of and approach to dealing with these challenges.

For this we thank you, Euro 2012.