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S4D staff blog: Personal field experiences from International Inspiration


S4D staff blog: Personal field experiences from International Inspiration

International Inspiration (IN) has started a new staff blog to share the personal experiences and reflections of sport for development work both from the field and office.

Head of programme development at IN, Poonam Sattee, writes about her recent trip to Bangladesh where IN works in partnership with the Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralysed (CRP) to deliver the Access & Empowerment programme, funded by Comic Relief.

The programme
An overarching objective of the programme in Bangladesh is to address the barriers that children with disabilities face when trying to access education. In partnership with CRP, IN supports the provision of assistive aids.

Getting it right
Across the sport for development sector, I have seen so many examples of where we just don’t get it right sometimes. Placing the child in a wheelchair in goal at a football match isn’t participation; it’s tokenistic. Or the mandatory inclusion of girls in a team and yet the team still exclude them as they play; it just doesn’t work. Children end up feeling more excluded than ever and this can lead to an experience that is both damaging and negative. At CRP, all activities were designed according to ability to ensure equal competition and play. Even the spinal cord injury patients were involved in the memory games.

Inspiring dynamic 
Within schools, CRP have distributed sports materials so children can continue to play sport outside of school and children with disabilities are in charge of these materials. If children wish to play with the sports materials, they need to come to the house of the child with disabilities to play. Children going to the child with disabilities house just to play with the resources but now developed into friendships. This powerful force of friendship has meant that children are now educating their community on disability and children with disabilities and finally take their place in school and are treated as an equal. 

Celebrating difference
I end my blog not with any wise words or thoughts but a picture (above). This little boy, Azmanis, is nine years old and is one of the beneficiaries of this programme who can now finally attend school. We often talk about the wider impacts of sport but can forget these individual stories where for one child, the world around them has begun to change for them and it is due to the power of sport.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Mel Paramasivan


Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 23:00