Thursday, 17 November 2016

Boccia, Blind-racing & Bottle Caps

This blog is all about our first visit to a school for our awareness raising and the sports inclusive sessions. On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, we rehearsed the awareness raising session that we’ll be carrying out in the schools. We split into two groups for this school as we were informed there will be pupils in the hundreds range. Group one: Letitia, Ben, Lydia, Rassidata, Tori and Nebie. Group two: Adama, Farhana, Cyrille, Sophie, Moussa and Grant. We estimated that we had around 300 pupils in total between the ages of 5-12. Yes, I know what you may be thinking - how did 12 volunteers manage 300 kids? Well let’s just say that our practice sessions prepared us for the worst. When group 1 practiced on group 2, group 2 were 5 year old pupils, all 300 of them. “There are no kids in any schools in Burkina Faso that behave as badly as you guys are behaving,” shouted Rassidata, laughing.

    In the actual awareness raising event, the pupils were not as bad as we behaved. The session ran smoothly- it was actually a lot better than we thought it would be.  Naturally, as it was our first session we had our worries. Although, in our discussion post event, we agreed there were areas of improvement.

   We introduced ourselves to the children and then went straight into the awareness raising.  Adama introduced HSB, he told the audience the aims and objectives of our visit and we hope to educate them around the issues of disability, inform them of disability rights and inclusive sports. We showed the class the Rio 2016 Paralympics “Yes we can” music video.  Every volunteer had a question to ask, all questions were asked in French. This meant that the UKV’s had to practice their French.

     The last hour consisted of practical learning with a little farewell speech after the sports. We had planned activities such as goal ball, one hand one leg, boccia, blind racing and balance boards which was also our rest station.

     The ending session consisted of asking the children what they have learned over the course of the morning. Thankfully, they seemed to have all learnt a lot about disability and they said they found the inclusive sport very challenging.  So we said our farewells and thank you to the teachers- and were chased out of the school by a bunch of kids singing ‘yes we can.’

     On Thursday and Friday the team focussed on the restoration of the office building. We had collected bottle caps in the previous week as they were going to be stuck on the wall visible to the public; this is the side of the wall that will be decorated. On Thursday we drew the design outline on the wall with coal, which we then went over with the bottle caps and paint. In previous weeks Grant and Adama had taken in everyone’s ideas of the design for the building, upon which they drew up a final design. Everyone stuck on the bottle caps together, despite the heat. The UKV’s obviously had to lather on some suncream.

    To our delight, we found that many of the students from the school passed the office over the next couple of days and got stuck in as well.  Even adults who were walking back from the market after a morning shopping wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  It was a great way to catch up with the children and meet some of the locals.  

Farhana Hussain

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