Doing a good job: The volunteers and disabled children in a group photo.
UNDERSTANDING the crucial need to encourage children with disabilities to participate in physical education and sports, with a focus on providing equal access to inclusive activities, British Council Malaysia recently awarded grants worth RM40,000 to five deserving special needs organisations through its flagship Sports for All programme.
Designed to introduce guidelines whilst reinforcing the importance of child protection in any disabled sports activity, this year’s programme included a new component, the Sports for All Youth Sport Leadership Project, which aimed to encourage youth volunteerism through engagement with children with special needs in sports activities.
The project invited organisations to submit a proposal on activities of their interest to be run internally which put their new knowledge of sports into practice which would then be of benefit to children with special needs.
Pertubuhan Kebajikan Mesra Rawang, Essential Associates Sdn Bhd, the Society for the Deaf in Selangor and Federal Territory, SMK Keningau, Sabah and Persatuan Kebajikan Sri Eden Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were selected to receive the grants.
The grants given by the British Council serve as start-up grants for the proposed projects and ongoing engagement with youth volunteers. Grant winners and selected youth volunteers went through the three-day Sportability Leadership Training recently.
“At Sri Eden, a centre for mentally challenged children, the experience and excitement of being in a sports event is rare for our children and if not for this support from the British Council, this sports day would not have been possible,” said Persatuan Kebajikan Sri Eden principal Aimee Chan.
“It was well worth the challenges faced and the efforts invested in organising this sports event. Not only did our children have a fun-filled day but they now look forward to the continuance of the sports activities.”
The inaugural sports day for Persatuan Kebajikan Sri Eden was held at SMK Seri Mutiara, Kuala Lumpur with support from the school principal.
Students from SMK Seri Mutiara were also involved as volunteers in training the children with special needs in sport activities.
“We came up with Play Sri Eden, a series of Tops Sportsability games. The Sports for All Youth Sport Leadership Project allowed us, for the first time, to organise a sports day while allowing the children to experience situations with diverse social circumstances,” said Persatuan Kebajikan Sri Eden project manager Nevina Kumaresan.
All awarded organisations will be participating in a sports carnival in Kuala Lumpur next month where they will showcase the successful programmes.