Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Awareness Raising at Koudougou

Three ICS volunteers go searching for an audience
Le jeudi 16 juillet 2015, nous étions à Koudougou à une centaine de kilomètre de Ouagadougou pour une sensibilisation. La population est sortie massivement nous assistée. On a eu à échanger et s’était très intéressant. Nous étions en collaboration avec les volontaires d’UGF/CDN, Réo et HSB/ISD. Arrivé vers les 9 heures à Koudougou, nous avons passé toutes la journée à Koudougou en compagnie de la population de Koudougou composée des jeunes étudiants, des enfants et de grandes personnes. Plusieurs activités étaient à l’ordre du jour partant des jeux comme le Blind raining, le goal Ball, le boccia et le handi-bike. Nous avons eu quelques minutes d’interaction avec les participants sur le handicap. C’est sous les prestations musicales du basketteur Webo, que nous prenons la route pour Ouagadougou vers les 18 heures 30 minutes.

Although the event was planned weeks in advance, the weather can play a huge role in whether that plan can be adhered to. Rainfall previous to Koudougou hampered efforts to promote the event prior to arrival and set up. As a result, at the start of the event there was little attendance. It was mainly local children who saw the sports equipment and came over to play. Music was used as a way to try and attract the local residents, but ceased due to technical faults. 

ICS volunteers brush up on their sporting skills

All three teams (HSB, ISD and UGF-CDN) were present yet did not have much to do. Without being able to spread awareness and educate about disability, we quickly realised the event was becoming a failure. Therefore we broke up into smaller teams and attempted to pull people in. This was difficult for the volunteers who could speak little French. However, one group entered the university grounds and by luck, many of the lecture theatres were filled with students who came to watch the handi basket after they had finished their lectures. By the end of the day, we had around 500 people present, most of whom had never seen disabled people playing sport. 

Crowds gather to watch a game of handi basket

Some of our own volunteers used wheelchairs to participate in the game and demonstrated how difficult it is for even an able bodied person to play handi basket. The beauty of the event was that the Burkinabe people could see how a 'good game' could be played between people with disabilites, and the people with disabilities could play a better game than people without disabilities! This showed skill and promise for people with disabilities and their sporting futures. Judging by the applause and cheers from the crowd, the game was a great success. 

Handi basket commences with an audience

National volunteers conduct a discussion in Moore about sport games for people with disabilities

At the end, one of the handi basket players sang and the children followed them onto the court. The players and people stood there in solidarity, sharing song and dance to come together, despite their physical differences. It was a moment that could not be created or forged by any amount of planning.

A handi basket player starts singing after the match has finished

Our event at Koudougou, at first first seemingly hopeless, soon became a success. 

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