by Special Olympics Asia Pacific

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  • During the pandemic, SOAP’s Regional Athlete and Youth Input Councils organized a series of ‘How to’ webinars. This included a webinar on origami cranes, teaching participants how to fold them.
  • This soon blossomed into a global movement encouraging people to fold 1000 cranes in support of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities (ID).
  • A social media campaign was rolled out. Its wide reach drove traffic to SOAP’s platforms, increasing awareness of Special Olympics and its movement for inclusion. It also promoted solidarity with people with ID internationally, during a difficult time.



  • “During the pandemic, our athletes suffered extremely… [from] the quarantine — the loneliness and lack of physical exercise that came from it. For our athletes, it was very important to feel the sense of community that had been deprived for them for so long…
  • As a team, we realized that we needed to reinstate the sense of inclusive community. We started with a series called, ‘How to’ webinars… where we would host skill building sessions for athletes [to] learn a new skill and chat with others… [The origami crane session] led to the #1000CranesForInclusion campaign; to generate awareness about PWID, their needs and to build a sense of hope for an inclusive generation.” – Simran Sahni, Co-chair of the Regional Youth Input Council (2020 to 2021)
  • According to Japanese legend, 1000 origami cranes form a ‘senbazuru’, a symbol of hope and healing that can grant one’s wish during challenging times, aligning with the youths’ wish for a peaceful and inclusive world.


  • 2,179,832 people reached via social media
  • 9,642,925 impressions recorded
  • Increased awareness of Special Olympics, people with intellectual disabilities and the need for greater inclusion.
  • Regional Athlete and Youth Input Councils developed their leadership skills and strengthened their collaboration by leading this campaign together.

What we learnt:

“1. There should be a collective approach — It is important for teams to collaborate to expand a campaign. There must be a common vision and a purpose for the campaign and everyone should align on that.

2. Practice makes perfect — It is important to plan the projects months in advance so that the team gets enough time to practice and fix probable inconveniences.

3. Don’t just invite the athletes to dance, organize it with them — I realized how important it is to give athletes most of the screen time. It is important to also be aware that it takes time to prepare the athletes, but collaboration between all the youth leaders helped.” – Simran Sahni, Co-chair of the Regional Youth Input Council (2020 to 2021)

“Instead of trying to engage individuals on our own, it might be more efficient to engage communities or organizations, since they could help us reach more individuals.

Establish collaborations with existing events so that we can reach their audiences. Engage more media partners and more publications.” – Satyananda Kusuma , Co-chair of the Regional Youth Input Council (2020 to 2021)


Campaign video
Instagram posts