Nadya is a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome from Krasnodar.
She has been raised by her grandmother, who found the inclusive dance studio Rizhiy Dance – formed by famous Russian dancer Evgeny Smirnov after he lost his leg in a tragic car accident – and believed that attending the sessions could help Nadya overcome the serious problems that she experienced socialising with other children.
This year Ryzhiy Dance has been working with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar as part of the Russian club’s commitment to One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility programme.
So when Nadya started attending the dance studio, she was able to take part in sessions led by Masha Sorokina, the head of the club’s Loks Dancers cheerleading team.
Nadya, who has always loved to dance, was inspired by Masha, and after attending several One Team sessions, something amazing happened: Nadya started to talk!
She soon started to have fun with the other kids in the group and started to participate in drills with more enthusiasm.
By the end of the programme, Nadya’s grandmother reported that she also now has a better relationship with her classmates in school, and spends much more time going outside and playing with other children.
Lokomotiv’s One Team programme is supported by the club’s general manager, three-time Euroleague champion Alexey Savrasenko, who commented: “We hope the kids have an inspiring ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience that will help them to develop important life skills such as confidence and camaraderie.”
The example of Nadya shows how that ambition is definitely being achieved, and proves once again how One Team uses the power of basketball to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve real social impact in our communities.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team programme has reached already directly and indirectly 14,000 participants through its various team projects.