Sports organisations and humanitarian organisations are working to provide opportunities and improve the lives of people with disabilities through sport and adapted physical activity (APA). This section provides an overview of key organisations that are involved in disability sport and development. Further information can be obtained from the websites of each organisation.

Handicap International

Handicap International is an international organisation specialised in the field of disability. Non-governmental, non-religious, non-political and non-profit making, it works alongside people with disabilities, whatever the context, offering them assistance and supporting them in their efforts to become self-reliant.

Since its creation, the organisation has set up programmes in approximately 60 countries and intervened in many emergency situations. It has a network of either national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA) which provide human and financial resources, manage projects and raise awareness of Handicap International’s actions and campaigns.

Handicap International’s sports and leisure projects aim to strengthen people with both physical and intellectual disabilities. Sports and leisure projects focus on support to local Disabled People Organisations, training of professionals, supporting clubs and associations, improving material conditions and accessibility.

International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity

The International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (IFAPA) is a cross-disciplinary professional organisation of individuals, institutions, and agencies supporting and promoting adapted physical activity, disability sport, and all aspects of sport, movement, and exercise science for individuals with disabilities.

IFAPA coordinates national, regional, and international functions that pertain to sport, dance, aquatics, exercise, fitness, and wellness for individuals of all ages with disabilities or special needs. Since 1978, IFAPA has conducted an International Symposium on Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA) which is held every two years. IFAPA has seven regions including Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Oceania.

International Paralympic Committee

Situated in Bonn, Germany, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the international governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC supervises and coordinates the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games, as well as World Championships and other competitions.

Through its member organisations the IPC coordinates initiatives related to sport and development, and in particular is committed to sustainable development and promoting the rights of people with a disability globally. The IPC also supports the recruitment and development of athletes at the local, national and international level across all performance levels.

Founded on 22 September 1989, the IPC is an international non-profit organisation formed and run by 162 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) from five regions and four disability specific international sports federations (IOSDs). The four IOSDs are:

Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organisation dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.

Special Olympics offer children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 30 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Special Olympics currently serve 2.5 million people with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 programmes in over 180 countries.

Special Olympics sharpened the focus on its mission as not just “nice”, but critical, not just a sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, but also an effective catalyst for social change.

International Committee of Sports for the Deaf

The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf is the governing body for the summer and winter Deaflympics. The headquarters are located in Frederick, Maryland USA and for that reason the English name is used in place of the French name, Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS).

The Deaflympics are organised and run exclusively by members of the community they serve. Only deaf people are eligible to serve on the board and executive bodies. The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf has 96 member countries organised in four regional confederations, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Pan-America and Africa.

Other Organisations

There are a number of other organisations that are currently active in promoting opportunities for people with a disability in developing countries to participate in sport.

These organisations include:

Additionally, international sporting organisations (ISOs) and international sports organisations for the disabled (ISODs) also develop specific initiatives that target people with a disability at various levels of sport and include developing countries.

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