Launch of the Yd-Maj For Equal Play Program for the inclusion of youth with disabilities through sport
The role of sport in the inclusion of youth with disabilities
For many years now, sport has been seen as a vehicle for the sociability and integration of marginalized communities, due to its non-discrimination and its capacity to offer spaces for inclusion and bodily expression. This capacity to provide innovative solutions, particularly in the social field, has given sport an important place in national policies and in many development projects led by civil society.
UNESCO estimates that 93 million children under the age of 14, or 5.1% of the world's children, live with moderate to severe disabilities. 80% of them live in a developing country.
In Morocco, according to the latest census conducted in September 2014 by the Higher Planning Commission (HCP), the number of people with disabilities amounts to 1.7 million people, or 5.1% of the population.
The same survey reveals that 66.5% (more than 1.1 million people with disabilities) have no education at all, compared to 35.3% among people without disabilities. This situation affects more women (79.5%) than men (53.4%), according to HCP's data, and 86.6% are inactive.
According to a report by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the conceptual model in place in Morocco, on the inclusion of people with disabilities, is outdated and contributes to the persistence of cultural, social and economic barriers, which prevent the establishment of an environment that is conducive to the effective social participation of people with disabilities.
TIBU Maroc, as the main actor of social innovation through sport in Morocco, has chosen, for more than 9 years, to make the strength of sport its ally to offer innovative solutions to social issues, including education, empowerment of young people, girls in rural areas but also the socio-economic inclusion of young people in NEET situations.
Social innovation through sport in the service of disability
In 2015 and thanks to the support of the U.S. Embassy, TIBU Maroc launched its Wheelchair Basketball School for young people with disabilities. This program has enabled more than 30 young people from vulnerable neighbourhoods of Casablanca (Mdina Lqdima, Sidi Maarouf, Sidi Moumen) to follow an annual program rich in activities focused on strengthening motor, cognitive and social-emotional skills through basketball, improving self-perception and leadership.
In early 2020, an overall evaluation of the project focused on 4 major challenges faced by young people with disabilities:
- Difficulty in accessing education, training and employment due to the low level of resources deployed, but also due to negative attitudes that are often close to discrimination on the grounds of disability, which makes it difficult to integrate young people with disabilities into society
- Insufficient life skills among young people with disabilities and lack of qualifications, which hinders access to employment opportunities
- Very low access to adapted physical activities in the school or community setting, which further increases the inequalities and exclusion of young people with disabilities
- Need for support for parents, especially mothers, in order to create a positive, empowering and balanced (neither over-protected nor abandoned) environment for young people
YD-Maj For Equal Play
In order to meet these challenges, TIBU Maroc launches, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a new program: YD-Maj (which, in Arabic, means ‘to include’) For Equal Play, for the inclusion of young people with disabilities aged between 10 and 16 years old. This program aims to contribute to the social inclusion of young people with disabilities through sport, through an integrated and multidimensional program that offers support for young people, focused on building self-esteem, changing the perception of young people with disabilities and preparing them for the job market.
The program also targets the parents of young people with disabilities, particularly the mothers, in order to support them on positive education, the creation of a positive environment within the family and also to alleviate the mental burden related to the care of a child with a disability.
Lastly, the program offers spaces for innovation and creativity through sport to set up awareness-raising projects around disability. Namely, we will launch a comic book made by the beneficiaries that advocates for inclusive schools in Morocco.
The discrimination suffered by children and young people with disabilities puts them in a situation of isolation and complete dependence on their family members, especially their mothers. Through workshops and fun and sport activities, the Yd-Maj program aims to break the isolation of these young people by promoting inclusive education and changing the perception of disability. When they play, the young people mix and need to be part of a group. Sport is a way for them to feel valued and to learn about life through self-improvement.
Through 3 sessions per week, the youngsters as well as their mothers will benefit from:
- Adapted physical activity sessions (basketball, handball and yoga), 3 sports selected by the TIBU Maroc team to work on concentration, leadership, self-esteem and teamwork
- Discussion groups which support parents in positive education and to strengthen the bond between youth and family
- Workshop on the key elements for the success of a balanced relationship between parents and young people with disabilities
- Inspiring stories of the role parents have played in the success of youth with disabilities
Further, workshops on important 21st century skills as well as on the balanced nutrition within a Moroccan context have also been planned.
Impact on the beneficiaries:
- Changing perceptions of disability among youth and their parents
- Improvement of self-esteem among youth
- Openness and participation of young people in activities outside the family setting
- Improved ability of young people to speak openly about their disability and to advocate for their rights at national and international events
- Acquisition of life skills to facilitate access to the job market