Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tanghin can play at that game

How would you define the world disability?  A restriction? An impairment? A limitation?

This challenging question kicked of the debate at this week’s awareness-raising event with Jeunesse Mobilisée pour un meilleur climat (Young People Mobilised for a Better Climate) in Tanghin, Ouagadougou. A lively discussion followed, covering topics such as what it means to be disabled, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Inclusive Sports team added lots to the debate, showing mages of athletes at the 2012 London Paralympic Games which emphasised how stereotypes can change the way we perceive people.

HSB and Inclusive Sports volunteers with members of Jeunesse Mobilisée pour un climat meilleur
The overriding message that came out of the session was that the implications of disability go be beyond physical health; they are part of a complex phenomenon which reflects the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.

Felicity explains the rules of the relay
Nearing midday, we headed out of the classroom to lead a relay in which players, divided into two teams of four, raced to fill a bucket with water. Player one was given crutches, player two was blindfolded, player three was given gloves to wear and player four wasn’t given any additional equipment. The main aim of this activity, which recreates what it is like to have specific disabilities, was to give the participants a glimpse into what it is like living with a disability, and encourage people to reflect on how they interact with disabled people in everyday life.

The Inclusive Sports team then led competitive blind-running races, Boccia and a game of goalball. It was clear to all that sports can be easily enjoyed by everybody just by adapting to the needs of the players, whether by modifying the equipment, the rules, the instructions, or the environment to make the game more accessible.

Felicity and Emma try their hand at guided running
Goalball attracted a large crowd from the surrounding area, as participants faced the challenge of to getting their bearings and stopping the ball while blindfolded. Goalball features three players at each end of the pitch who aim to score by bowling past the opposition who are also trying to block the ball from going past their line. As the sport has been developed for those with visual impairments the ball has a bell in the centre meaning all players must rely solely on their hearing to play, which is no mean feat!

A great awareness event for everybody involved, the day in Tanghin produced some great discussions about disability and positive feedback from the participants. Around 10% of the world’s population is disabled and if we include their immediate families then at least 25% of the world is directly affected by disability. Moreover, 80% of those living with a disability live in developing nations, and, as Nathalie said on the day, we cannot speak of development without including all of the population.




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