The Paralympic Movement’s education programme I’mPOSSIBLE will be heading out to three new countries, with the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Kazakhstan, Malawi and South Korea all receiving funds to introduce the initiative.
The three NPCs applied for the Agitos Foundation’s 2017 Grant Support Programme (GSP) as a way of funding the scheme, which is designed to engage young people in the Paralympic Movement.
They will also received further direction and guidance on how to utilise their GSP funds, with the help of I’mPOSSIBLE which was launched globally on December 3.
The programme fits perfectly for NPC Kazakhstan, who have produced numerous Para athletes who have gone on to win Paralympic and World Championship medals yet face barriers to bringing forward the next generation of talent.
The NPC held open lectures in schools for pupils with impairments and found that currently children with impairments are excluded from sport lessons, teachers are ill-prepared and curriculum vitae programmes are not adapted.
“The study has shown that schools are not ready for inclusive education”, said Meruyert Tlebaldy, assistant executive director at NPC Kazakhstan.
“According to the NPC's charter, we must create conditions for Para athletes from entry level to high performance, which means that the NPC should take care of creating conditions for children with disabilities in schools.”
Through an “Advocacy campaign,” the NPC hopes to address this by creating a new environment in schools where young people with impairments can participate in sports, while also promoting their current elite Para athletes.
NPC Malawi has similar ambitions and hopes to erase the negative attitude on people with impairments in their own nation.
“Malawi is still a country where there is stigmatisation towards people with disabilities,” said James Chiutsi, President of NPC Malawi.
“While there have been a number of interventions to change people's perception, most of these have not targeted young minds.
"We believe that teaching the youth will entrench in them the natural respect for fellow human beings without regard to race, colour, creed and disability.”
The accomplish their goal, Chiutsi said they will begin with a national launch, at one of the pilot project schools.
They will attract media and train journalists on how to properly report on Para sports.
They would also train I'mPOSSIBLE staff, which includes teachers at the pilot schools.
“Young people are the decision-makers of the future, I'mPOSSIBLE will help instill confidence to the youth, will help them appreciate themselves and other people,” said Chiusti.
“It will help them grow with an open and inclusive attitudes and perception towards fellow human beings. Generally, it will help them enjoy life.”
The NPC of South Korea was also awarded a GSP 2017 grant to implement I’mPOSSIBLE after Pyeongchang 2018 as a legacy project.
The Asian country hopes to build on the passion for Para sport generated by the Paralympic Winter Games, which they will host from March 9 to 18.