Project “Grow up with sport activities – social and equal opportunities” (ref. No 603031-EPP-1-2018-1-BG-SPO-SSCPI) is co-funded by Erasmus + Programme of the European Union with Grant decision No 2018 – 2598 /001 – 001 of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Project acronym: GWSASEO

Within the framework of Erasmus + Programme, the project falls under action “Sport”, action type “Small Collaborative Partnerships” with the participation of the following four organizations:

  • Applicant organization: Federation of Adapted Physical Activity On the Balkans and Black Sea Region (FAFA), Republic of Bulgaria;
  • Partner 2 – Special Olympics Czech Republic (České hnutí Speciálních olympiád-CHSO) – associated partner, Czech Republic;
  • Partner 3 – Inspired Equine Assisted Learning CIC (IdEAL CIC) – associated partner, United Kingdom;
  • Partner 4 – Social Welfare Centre of Central Macedonia – associated partner, Greece.

 

Budget: 51 800 euro

Duration of the project: January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019

 

Project objectives:

The project is in accordance with EU Work Plans for Sport 2017-2020, with focus on Priority 3 “Sport and Society – Access to sport for people with disabilities”. This complies with the EU Disability Strategy (2010-2020) – Empower people with Disabilities so that they can enjoy their full rights and benefit from fully participating in the society and in the European economy.

The purpose of the project is to raise the involved organizations’ capacities to promote social inclusion by implementing sport activities and services including children and young people with intellectual disabilities and to use the sport as a driving force for social inclusion. GWSASWO project aims at breaking the barriers that people with intellectual disabilities meet.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • To develop and to reinforce networks;
  • To increase the capacity to operate at transnational level;
  • To confront ideas and methods in different areas relating to sport and physical activities.
  • Exchange of good practices;

 

The partnering organizations in the project are united for the promotion of physical activity and social inclusion to children with the following kinds of disabilities:

  1. Intellectual disability (ID)
  • ID is a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive functioning. ID begins during childhood and involves deficits in mental abilities, social skills, and core activities of daily livingwhen compared to same-aged peers.

 

  1. Down syndrome (DS)
  • DS is a genetic disordercaused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability, and characteristic facial features. The degree of intellectual disability in people with Down syndrome varies but is usually mild to moderate. Generally, children with Down syndrome reach key developmental milestones later than other children. Despite these delays, children with DS can learn to participate in physical exercises and similar activities like other children.

 

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • ASD is a complex neurological and developmental disorder that affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates and learns. ASD affects the structure and the function of the brain and the nervous system. Because it affects development, ASD is called a developmental disorder. ASD can last throughout a person’s life. People with this disorder have problems with communication, interactions with other people (social skills), restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Different people with autism can have different symptoms. For this reason, autism is known as a spectrum disorder – a group of disorders with a range of similar features.

 

  1. Child Cerebral Palsy (CPD)
  • CPD are a group of diseases, manifested by spastic paralysis of the limbs as a result of permanent damage in the motor areas of the cortex, subcortical and conduction pathways of the cerebrum. The treatment consists mainly in the conduct of curative exercise, the appointment of Group B vitamins and nervous system stimulants. The CPC estimate depends on the severity of the disability and the mental development. Children with a preserved mental development, older, are actively involved in the healing process in terms of motor development. Such children should receive the appropriate professional guidance from their doctor.

 

Within the framework of the project, the four organizations will share their best practices on measures for increasing children’s physical activity. Different programs for non-traditional forms of physical activity, recreation spaces and their application to formal and non-formal education will be discussed during the project. The project partners will exchange their educational and training modules/tools and good practices through organization and participation in five transnational project meetings. At the same time the project partners will carry out an analysis of the children’s physical activity and will provide recommendations.

The result of the project activities is the development, promotion and implementation of a special program for increasing the physical and the mental activity of children with special needs. The Sport education during the project will be focused on social integration. Through sport children will initiate to demonstrate social communication, to create new friendships, leadership, discipline and teamwork, etc. Thanks to the experience and the knowledge gained, each child will be able to grow as a personality, to increase his civic and national consciousness, to develop the competencies necessary for further learning and to live a meaningful, active life in the modern society.

Adapted physical education is related to the acquisition of new motor skills and habits and the development of motor skills in children with special educational needs.

Experts from the four organizations will design training modules in order to increase the knowledge and the skills of young people with disabilities to participate in recreational sport activities with the purpose of pushing up their physical, cognitive and social development.

  • Project partner No1 /Applicant organization/:

Federation of Adapted Physical Activity On the Balkans and Black Sea Region (FAFA)

FAFA is an independent, non-political and non-religious organization that works in the direction of peace education, intercultural friendship and building a globally active civil society. FAFA was established in 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The federation has over 3 years of experience in the organization and implementation of programs, researches, trainings, projects and events for disabled children. FAFA promotes and supports all forms of youth activities and social integration, including disadvantaged people.

The key-activities, around which the Federation is structured, are all kind of adapted pshysical activities; athletics between individuals with disabilities, amateurish athletics as part of physical education and social representation of its members before public authorities, national and international organizations and institutions.

The objectives of the Federation are:

  • Development and validation of all forms of adapted sport, sport amongst the disabled people and disadvantaged people, school sport. Sport for all: leisure and amateurs as part of the physical culture of the Balkans and the Black Sea region;
  • Creating an environment for affirming trust, security, tolerance and support.
  • Cooperating and assisting all forms of sport activities and social integration of the individuals including all kind of minorities and youth and people with fewer opportunities.
  • Creating the conditions needed for promotion and implementation of every form of adapted athletics and recreational activities.

FAFA has a solid experience in the organization, coordination and implementation of different projects and initiatives in the field of education and trainings. The federation has well-founded knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses, chances and limits of the “new ways of learning “- especially regarding children with disabilities and special needs.

Since 2015, FAFA has been organizing an Integrated Children’s Sport Festival under the slogan “You are part of us” with a focus on the integration of children with disabilities. FAFA serves as sustainable and proactive network between different types of organizations and institutions like UNESCO Bulgaria, Ministry of Youth and Sports – Bulgaria and Sofia Municipality, as well as National sports academy “Vasil Levski”-Bulgaria.

Since 2016, FAFA has been realizing training amongst the nature with focus on tourism and alpinism activities in Pirin mountain at the foot of the Vihren peak for children and young people with special needs – with down syndrome, mental retardation and autism.

March 2018 the organization won the project “Believe in me – and I can” with the Social Protection Fund, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Bulgaria. The main activities are related to support for children with special needs through three sports activities: swimming, dancing and conditioning training.

For more information: линк към уебсайт на ФАФА

 

  • Project partner No 2:

Special Olympics Czech Republic (České hnutí Speciálních olympiád – CHSO):

Special Olympics Czech Republic is a non-profit organization, located in Prague, Czech Republic, focused on physical activities and sports (including competitive – PA&S) for persons with mental disabilities (MD). According SOI regulations Czech SO (CHSO) is oriented in health benefits, self-awareness, personal development, improvement of the life quality of people with MD trough PA&S.

Key activities of the organization relating to the area covered by GWSASEO project are:

  • Health education and health support for children with intellectual disabilities
  • Integration of children with intellectual health problems through yoga, swimming, skiing.
  • Influencing and improving the public’s attitude and awareness toward people with ID through participation in PA&S.

Strong part of the program is education of people with ID, their family members, caregivers and educators with focus on healthy lifestyle and social inclusion.

For more information: https://www.specialolympics.cz/линк към уебсайта

 

  • Project partner No 3:

Inspired Equine Assisted Learning CIC (IdEAL CIC):

Inspired Equine Assisted Learning CIC is a non-profit organization in the field of sport and works as Community Interest Company. IdEAL CIC is located in Boston, United Kingdom.

IdEAL’s mission is to promote the benefits from therapeutic horsemanship and to demonstrate how it can help a wide range of adults and children looking for a new way to improve confidence and self-awareness, including people with behavioral challenges, mental health problems and learning difficulties.

The organization has developed its own learning platform named Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). EAL is a unique learning experience that uses horses as active participants. It does not involve riding and no prior experience with horses is required. EAL has been integral part of all their activities in hypotherapy. The IdEAL CIC experts implement their sessions individually or in groups – designed to address all specific needs, using the appropriate combination of hypotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coaching, equine assisted learning (EAL), etc.

For more information: https://www.inspired-eal.co.uk/ – линк към уебсайта

 

  • Project partner No 4:

Social Welfare Centre of Central Macedonia (SWCCM)

Social Welfare Centre of Central Macedonia is a public entity under the Ministry of Labor, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity of Republic of Greece, located in Thessaloniki.

The strategic goal of the organization is to help eliminate social exclusion and poverty by strengthening social cohesion, and providing quality welfare services to the citizens of Central Macedonia

More specifically, the organization aims to:

  • Prevent and deal with challenging factors which may give rise to social exclusion and marginalisation.
  • Protect and provide care for individuals who lack a supportive environment, including the delivery of all services necessary for ensuring decent living conditions.
  • Further the process of deinstituzionalization of persons residing in institutions by enchancing their skills and preparing the ground for them to smoothly transition into and be actively reintegrated in the community.
  • Improve available services and/or develop new ones in order to provide new opportunities to vulnerable social groups and, ultimately, to the whole society

SWCCM provides open and closed-care services to people with disabilities, functional, social and vocational training and rehabilitation, chronic nursing, as well as the operation of out-of-institutional structures such as retirement homes and sheltered living in the community.

SWCCM organizes educational conferences and workshops for old and new executives, camps and training programs for young people, awareness-raising activities in collaboration with various social actors and mainly with primary schools.

For more information: линк към уебсайта на организацията.

The project preparation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination is organized in 3 stages and 4 Work Packages (WPs) as follows:

  • First Stage – WP1: continuously active form of the project.
  • Second Stage – WP2 and WP3 will develop and reinforce networks between partners and will increase capacity to operate at transnational level in the field of encouraging the social inclusion and the equal opportunities in sport.
  • Third Stage – WP 4: awareness – raising campaign.

 

FIRST STAGE:

WP1 is managed by the Project team, which consists of 6 people: 1 project manager, 1 project coordinator and 1 financial coordinator from the applicant organization, and 1 project coordinator from each one of the other partners. WP1 includes all the preparatory and administrative procedures for the regularity and the maturity of the project. In March 2019, a project kick-off meeting will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria with the participation of the project team. WP1 corresponds to transnational meetings number 1 and number 5, which indicate the initial and the final activities and results of the project.

 

SECOND STAGE:

WP2 will develop and reinforce transnational partner networks ensuring coherence and coordination of the main project objectives. It contains 2 activities each one of which is divided into 2 parts – theoretical and practical.

WP2 corresponds to transnational meetings number 2 and number 3.

  • Activity 1: Research of educational and training modules/tools and programs

Theoretical part: review of the existing monitoring system and type of specific programs used by each one of the partners; research of EU, national and international policies in the field of sport activities and physical adopted programs/ practices, trainings, methods for children with special needs/ disabilities. The national and regional legal framework for all partners – as a transnational case studies.

Practical part: exchange of good practices through visits in Special Olympics bases. The host organization will diagnose potential problems and/or the potential of new or existing communication messages, strategies, services or products.

Activity 1 corresponds to transnational meeting number 2 and will take place in Prague, Czech Republic with the assistance of a partner No 1.

 

  • Activity 2: Research of educational and training modules/tools and programs in the field of sport through horses:

The UK organization will introduce a new educational and training learning – “Equine Assisted Learning” (EAL). The idea of EAL is that the children with special needs spend time with horses and experience a variety of activities and exercises which enable them to learn new skills, as they develop a partnership with the horse, based on trust and mutual respect.

Theoretical part: discovering how the horses communicate using body language and the energy; observing the herd in order to understand the equine’s behavior; taking care of horses: feeding, grooming and general stable management; interacting with the horses: leading, long-reining and liberty work, etc.

Practical part: On the one hand, the practical part will demonstrate to the partners how the sessions really did help the children to learn to control their emotions. They express love to the horses and in order to groom and lead them it is necessary to remain calm and relaxed. When the level of the children’s energy starts to rise, the horses would provide an instant feedback and the children would learn that they have to immediately relax in order remain in the horses’ company. Using these new skills at home and in the society, will help children to control their emotions and will improve relationships with parents, siblings, new friendships, opportunity for better social life in future. On the other hand, partners could explore their monitoring system (assessing core skills) with sets of measurements.

Activity 2 will take place in UK with the assistance of project partner No 3.

Results of WP2 will be integrated in WP 3.

 

WP 3 Design, test and dissemination of the new program

Work package 3 will be located in the territory of the Greek partner which has a well –  structured sport facility to test the new program in all aspects.

Theoretical part: design the program integrating the previous result from WP 2 and WP 3. In addition, creating a new monitoring system, based on exchange of transnational case studies will be tested.

Practical part: the project partners will take part in demonstration of sport activities for 25 children with disabilities, through key persons with various skills and expertise.

As a result, WP 3 will allow the elaboration of specific program in accordance with the real sport, health and social needs of children. The system will act as a new management tool. It will identify summarized data.

 

THIRD STAGE

WP 4 – Awareness-raising campaign

All project awareness – raising activities will be realized in the social networks. Awareness – raising activities will use as a minimum the following materials: press releases, a project brochure, presentations of transnational meetings and links to news articles in which the project has been mentioned or refers to the same subject, and will use appropriate channels for communication, which are compatible with these materials

Communication and dissemination of the project, includes the development and the maintenance of the present project website that will continue to operate after the end of the project and will be managed by the applicant partner.

 

SUMMARY OF THE WORK PROGRAM

 

  1. Exchange of good practices for physical education and implementation of innovative methods, trainings and programmes;
  2. Active work on the implementation of sport activities;
  3. Organization of the partners’ meetings about the sport and physical education policy in each country/ region, discussion on questions related to physical education in the education and social system through collaboration with the key persons of the project with expertise and various skills – March-June, 2019;
  4. Organization of the seminar “Give me a chance! Changing Society by Changing Attitudes” with focus on non-traditional physical education forms – swimming, Zumba dance, horse riding and outdoor activities for children with disabilities (every country shares their best experience) – March-June, July – August, 2019;
  5. Organization of the final conference “Social Integration Through Sport Activities for children with disabilities” – September, 2019;
  6. Publication of the final product “Programme for Physical adaptation through non -traditional physical forms for skills development for children with disabilities” – October 2019;
  7. Creation of an internet page of the project;
  8. Preparation and publication of a project calendar.