Trainers, teachers, a group of friends, with or without disability - anyone who wants to organise sports activities for and with disabled children and young people has to decide on the type of the event, choose and contact partner organisations for cooperation and identify the participants to invite.
Different types of events
Sports activities for disabled children and young people can be initiated within the framework of different events:
- Organisation of a one-day event or festival open to everybody but focused on promoting sports for the disabled.
- Organisation of a sports camp lasting several days.
- Regular and continuous training - e.g. football training once a week or an individual treatment plan within medical facilities (orthopaedic centres, physiotherapy departments in hospitals, mobile health teams, etc.).
One-day events can be interesting and inspiring for the whole community. However, meeting the objective of introducing sport as a way of integration means at least a medium-term commitment. In order to guarantee the sustainability of practising sport, it should be integrated into community activities and facilities and if possible, even into national networks.
Irrespective of the type of event, the main objective is always to strengthen the role of the disabled children and young people, to improve their social interaction and facilitate their integration into society. Nevertheless, priorities may shift from one type to the other; whilst a one-day event or festival focuses more on the aspects of general awareness raising, regular and continuous training aims at empowerment and physical rehabilitation. A sports camp lasting several days includes all elements, a focal point may be identified by the organising team.
Cambodia and the Lavalla Sports Camp
In Cambodia, project activities were integrated into the existing mechanism supporting disabled people in the province of Battambang and Siem Reap. The sports camps relied on existing facilities of sport clubs and schools. Additionally, the team contacted NGOs and governmental institutions for support of the project. Six sport teachers were selected for the project and made responsible for the preparation. One of the camps was the Lavalla Sports Camp:
The sports camp was organised in the premises of the Lavalla school. The school is managed by the Marist Brothers who provide secondary education to children with disabilities.
34 children were invited to this sports camp, among them 23 children with disabilities and 16 girls. Disabilities included polio, paraplegia, club foot, amputations and multiple disabilities. Among the trainers, only one was not disabled. The trainers were responsible for the organisation of the activities. Three games, chess, artistic and wheelchair basketball had been selected for the camp.
The first day of the camp started with welcoming the children and informing them about the purpose and the programme of the sports camp. The activities began with a few warm-up games, so called "ice-breakers", which gave the children a chance to get to know each other. The children were then divided into groups. The division was according to two criteria: the medical typology of the disability and the desire of the child. After the first activities the children were once more gathered to exchange their experiences and offer feedback. After lunch and a rest break, the afternoon activities started. The day ended with a final meeting including discussions and short interviews with some of the children and the trainers. All through the day shorter breaks with the distribution of soft drinks and snacks were organised, which gave an opportunity to discuss and continually gather suggestions and complaints.
The organisers reported that a few days of sports activities were not enough for teaching and consequently learning all the rules and techniques of chess, artistic and wheelchair basketball. Despite this, experiences clearly demonstrated that games and sports activities positively influence and improve the perception of children with disabilities. The fact that the group not only played but also ate, lived and travelled together, resulted in better mutual understanding and facilitated integration.