Anadolu Efes Istanbul has used its work with One Team, Euroleague Basketball’s social responsibility program, to address a serious issue throughout Turkey: the social inclusion of people with disabilities.
The club has partnered with Special Olympics Turkey to work with 20 athletes between the ages of 15-20, running eight sessions – with the support of the club’s One Team Ambassador Sertac Sanli – specifically designed to motivate the participants and contribute their personal development through basketball.
The success of the program is shown by the example of participant Sule Inan, who has Down Syndrome. Like many others with her condition, before joining One Team she had social difficulties, and did not enjoy talking with friends or playing any kind of sports.
Efes first worked with Sule three years ago through One Team, taking her and a friend to a EuroLeague game at Zalgiris Kaunas, where she overcame her initial embarrassment to take part in an on-court activity and score the first basket of her life, giving her great excitement.
Since then, Sule has continued to stay active with One Team and has now become one of the leading members of the group and an integral part of her community, gaining a huge amount of self-confidence.
Şule’s mother is delighted with the impact of One Team on her daughter’s life, saying: “Sule’s first involvement with Anadolu Efes Sports Club when she went to Kaunas was a great experience, giving her excitement and happiness which she will never ever forget. After that, Sule and her friends had a great time during the One Team sessions. It was a huge motivation for them.
“They learned to share, to communicate better, and to work as a team. Anadolu Efes made a very important impact in her life and won a place in her heart. As her mother, I want to thank all the members of the club for their sincerity, sensitivity and effort. Their happiness is our happiness.”
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 meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 16,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.