New partnership extends Paralympic legacy in EthiopiaSubscribe
Sport is set to radically change perceptions of people with disabilities in Ethiopia, by giving them the opportunity to take part in previously unavailable sports activities as well as learning how to manage newly established sports clubs. The innovative project is supported by the London 2012 international sports legacy programme, International Inspiration.
A partnership between the International Inspiration Foundation (IIF) and the Cheshire Foundation Action for Inclusion (CF-AI) will initially oversee the formation of nine local sports clubs for young people with disabilities aged 14-18. The new project will help tackle the common misconception that people with disabilities are limited in their potential to succeed both on and off the field. There is currently little provision of social activities for this age group, leaving many learners facing further challenges with integration at school and in their communities. Using sport as a way to engage and teach both disabled and able-bodied learners about the importance of integration, sport has the powerful potential to deliver skills and provide an opportunity to meet people who face the same challenges. It will also be an opportunity for the non-disabled community to learn skills such as sign language to deepen their understanding of what it is like to have a disability.
One of the greatest challenges in delivering sport to disabled learners is the inclusive teaching technique of sports coaches and Physical Education teachers. The new programme will oversee the training of local PE teachers to develop inclusive sport training that can also be applied in their PE lessons. The programme will assist in breaking down the negative perceptions of people with disabilities as well as help develop active sports players. The programme will then introduce sport specific sessions like athletics, volleyball or table tennis, as identified by the demand of the participants involved.
This will be the first sports based programme that CF-AI have been involved with, as their reputable work across three regions of the country currently focuses on community-based rehabilitation of disabled members of the community. Sport will bring a dynamic addition to the current activities that bring the two groups together and build on the momentum and recognition for disability sport following the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Ethiopia celebrated its most successful Paralympic Games ever last summer after Wondiye Fikre gained silver in the 1500m-T46, winning the country’s first ever medal. This success adds to the well-known victories of Olympic counterparts, yet the stigma surrounding disabilities remains strong and prevents many from taking part in sport or contributing to society.
International Inspiration Adviser, Catherine Sweet, believes this exciting new partnership will compliment the existing work of International Inspiration in Ethiopia.
She said: “This new programme will increase the opportunities for disabled young people to build a new social understanding of disability sport amongst their peers and in the wider community. The programme will also enhance the work International Inspiration has provided in training young people and maximizing the great potential for young people to lead change in the country.”
Kedir Mohammed, Executive Director of CF-AI, believes the impact of introducing new activities will enhance other opportunities for young disabled learners.
He said: “These activities will launch integrated ways of creating better opportunities for people in Ethiopia. At the moment there is a low level of awareness around disability and great inaccessibility to information, resources and education around this issue. As witnessed in the Paralympic Games, sport is a phenomena which brings people together to watch and enjoy the talents of athletes and raise awareness of the magnitude of problems they face.”
The new three-year programme is funded by Comic Relief and will be managed by the International Inspiration Foundation in partnership with CF-AI.
Visit the International Inspiration webpage to find out more.