Friday, 6 June 2014

Setting the Wheels in Motion for Inclusion

On Saturday, HSB were proud to be part of the Assocation des Eleves et Etudiants Handicapés Burkina (AEEHB) National Youth Forum for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. The Forum lasted three days, and included a conference and debate, and a cultural day.

The main event for HSB and the UK volunteers was the Inclusive Sports demonstrations which were held at the university on Saturday morning. HSB Athletes and the UK and National Volunteers from the Paralympic teams, Tignoung Nonma and HSB got stuck in and helped with demonstrations of Goalball, Boccia, and Wheelchair Basketball.
AEEHB Members and the Volunteers

All the volunteers had a go at Goalball. For those who don’t know. Goalball is a game whereby the aim of the game is to get a ball in into the opposite goal which is guarded by the opposing team. The thing is, players are blind-folded or blind, and the ball has bells in it. It was quite the experience trying to play a sport whilst blind.
Having a go at Goalball

Boccia is like Boule, or Petanque, whereby players throw balls and try to get them as close as possible to a ‘target’ ball on the ground. Both teams got very competitive and it was an entertaining match to watch!
Finally, the HSB and University teams played a wheelchair basketball match. Abdul from the Paralympic Inclusive Sports Education team got involved, and got himself some impressive blisters in the process. The rest of us were put off by the skill of the players and the number of spectators and decided it was best to leave the pros to it.

The morning was really fun and about 80 people attended the event, both as spectators and participants. Thanks to AEEHB for having us!

HSB take on AEEHB
On a related note, this week we also got to check out an HSB handibasket training session. HSB’s teams train on Thursdays at 4. The court is in a public area, which is great as the locals get to check out the sport too, and without even trying awareness is being raised about disability. The players are seriously disciplined, setting themselves challenges, and doing drills before a mini-match.

We chatted to Pascal, who plays on HSB’s team and often umpires their matches about wheelchair basketball. He told us that basketball, which he has played since 1993, is one of his passions. He said that it was an important to him as a way to share the experiences with other disabled people, to make friends and to create a network. Thanks to basketball, he has blossomed. He hopes that Burkina Faso can send a wheelchair basketball team to the Paralympics in Rio 2016.

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