An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.