Integrated wheelchair fencing practices for better rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children in Belarus

Integrated wheelchair fencing practices for better rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children in Belarus

Belarus
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The main aim of the Project is to contribute to and to create favorable conditions for better rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children under 18 years old in Belarus by means of practising wheelchair fencing.
Sports and recreation offer the opportunity to achieve success in a very short time period, to use this success to build self-confidence and focus on possibilities. The ability to participate in a sport, such as wheelchair fencing, provides the opportunity to reunite with family and friends in a shared activity.
But even more importantly, the Project provides disabled athletes with opportunity to compete on equal terms with body-abled athletes which acts as a highly effective tool for social integration of disabled amateur athletes.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The special feature of the Project is the unique opportunity for integrated sport practises it offers. One of the distinctive features of wheelchair fencing is the possibility for joint sport practices of disabled and body-abled athletes. Wheelchairs are positioned on the metal frame according to the weapon used and to the advantage of the fencer with the shorter fencing arm. Therefore, body-abled fencers can easily compete with disabled fencers on equal conditions as both athletes are supposed to fence in a wheelchair. Opportunity for even competition with body-abled children has a great significance in terms of succesful social integration of disabled children. "Egalite" is the first organization in Belarus to introduce integrated sport practices for disabled children and to launch sport practices for amateur disabled athletes in Belarusian cities and towns. Wheelchair fencing has already proved its effectivenes in rehabilitation and social integration of disabled children in other countries, so the Project is expected to be very succesful.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The primary activities of the Project include: organizing regular wheelchair classes for disabled amateur athletes under 18 years old in various places of Belarus; providing amateur athletes with required equipment, outfit,and special transportation; training volunteer coaches who will be involved in training disabled athletes; carrying out awareness raising campaigns as well as PR campaigns and other activities aimed at drawing public attention to the issues of social integration and rehabilitation of disabled children; providing disabled athletes with comprehensive assistance and support, including psychosocial rehabilitation; networking with wide range of NGOs that work with disabled children both within the country and abroad.
About You
Organization:
Sports Rehabilitation Center "Egalite"
About You
First Name

Vadzimir

Last Name

Zarankin

Twitter
Facebook Profile
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Sports Rehabilitation Center "Egalite"

Organization Phone

+375 17 268 48 04

Organization Address

2/2-9B Jakubava Str., 220101, Minsk, Belarus

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

According to the latest data, the number of disabled children in Belarus has exceeded 30.000 people. At the same time, the number of disabled children involved in various sports is considerably smaller. Most children with disabilities, especially the ones living in small towns and villages, don't have the opportunity to practise sports. However, today it's difficult to find opportunities for practising Paralympic sports even in big cities of Belarus.
People with disabilities in Belarus are often discriminated, most of public places and services are still not available for the disabled not to speak of the availability of sport classes.
Disabled people often receive support and assistance only from a number NGOs currently working in the field. The support from state institutions is declared but often is not really provided when it's actually nedeed.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The foundation of "Egalite" is the outcome of long-term cooperation and close interaction of a number of experienced professionals and representatives of public associations willing to combine efforts, poll resources, and elaborate common approach in order to work towards achieving common goals.
The organization owns premises required for the implementation of the first stage of the Project. Premises for wheelchair fencing practices, technical equipment and transportation for disabled athletes has been provided to disabled children since the start of the Project in two cities.
At the current stage wheelchair fencing classes are taking place in Minsk and Brest. All the objectives of the first stage of the Project have been implemented succesfully. In particular, more than 50 disabled children are currently involved in sport practices, 4 volunteer coaches are working with disabled amateur athletes, and about 30 body-abled amateur fencers are participating in joint sport practices. Psychosocial rehabilitation services are also been provided to disabled athletes at psychosocial rehabilitation cabinet in Minsk.
The evaluation of the project takes place on a monthly basis. The major indicators for measuring project's success at the first stage are: the number of disabled children that start practicing wheelchair fencing every month; the number of volunteer coaches that get involved in training disabled athletes every month; the number of volunteer body-abled children that get involved in integrated wheelchair fencing practices each month; the number of cities that provide disabled children with opportunities for practicing wheelchair fencing on amateur level.
Further evaluation will imply measuring such additional indicators as the number of disabled athletes trained in course of the Project who continue practicing wheelchair fencing on a professional level; the number of organizations and institutions that have introduced the experience gained in course of the Project into their activities; etc.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

1,001-10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

The main objective for the next six month is increasing the number of cities that provide disabled children with opportunity for practicing wheelchair fencing.

Task 1

To select the next oblast centers to get involved in the Project.
According to prelimiinary six-month plans, Homiel and Hrodna will be selected in order to increase the number of cities involved.

Task 2

To attract financial resourses from different sources to rent premises and purchase required equipment, in particular metal frames, and outfit for wheelchair fencing practices in Hrodna and Homiel.

Task 3

To launch PR campaign in Hrodna and Homiel in order to attract the attention of the target groups to the opportunities for practicing wheelchair fencing as well as to raise public awareness.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

The continuation of the Project implies attracting sufficient resources in order to spread the target area to all the oblast centers and to start devoting special attention to small towns.

Task 1

To involve the remaining oblast centers. Wheelchair fencing practices will be launched in Vitsebsk and Mahilyow. Special equipment, outfit and premises will be needed in order to complete the task.

Task 2

To target small towns for launching wheelchair fencing practices. The preliminary list of possible towns include: Maladzechna, Polatsk, Navagrudak, Lida, Pinsk, and Babruisk.

Task 3

To launch nationwide awareness raising campaign; to conduct training seminars for volunteer coaches in order to pass them skills and knowledge required for coaching disabled amateur athletes.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

The Project is expected to cover all the major cities and small towns of the country. Up to 2000 disabled amateur athletes under 18 years old are expected to get involved in wheelchair fencing practices, about 100 volunteer coaches are expected to receive training in order to satisfy the needs of disabled athletes. It's expected to attract about 1000 body-abled fencers participating in integrated sport practices on a regular basis.
The implementation of the Project in the next three years will lead to significant progress in rehabilitation and succesful social integration of disabled children which will be proved by medical evidence.
Moreover, the Project will inderictly contribute to the development of Paralympic movement in Belarus and inspire disabled children all over the world.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The significance of the succesful implementation of the current Project has already been acknowledged both by target groups, NGOs and local authorities.
However, the major barrier to the success of the Project is the lack of financial resources needed for purchasing required equipment. While the need for premises, outfit and transportation has so far partially been satisfied by in-kind contributions, the required equipment, in particular special metal frames, has to be purchased abroad due to its abscence in Belarus.
The implementation of the next stages of the Project implies the increase of the number of cities involved. Therefore, additional financial resources will constantly be needed in order to implement the objectives.
It's expected to apply various fundraising tools in order to attract required resources. However, hard economic situation in Belarus will most likely significantly decrease the amount of donations and, therefore, may endanger the implementation of the Project.
Possible solutions to the mentioned barriers include applying for funding to international funds and organizations and searching for and cooperating with foreign partners working in similar areas.

Tell us about your partnerships

The initial stage of practicing paralympic sports is often associated with various psychosocial barriers amateur disabled athletes may face. Barriers are also likely to arise in course of training. Negotiation of the barriers are ensured by the services provided at psychosocial rehabilitation cabinet.
The services are provided by International Charitable Public Association “Health into XXI Century” located in Minsk, Belarus, that acts as a partner organization in course of the implementation of the Project.
Other partner organizations include Youth Public Association of People with Disabilities "Paralympic Fencing" and The Paralympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus. These organizations provide informational assistance and facilitate the dissemination of printed materials.

Explain your selections

All the financial resources required for the implementation of the Project are donated by individuals and businesses.
The Project is also supported by several NGOs working with disabled people in Belarus.
Local authorities also express their support to the implementation of the Project in their respective regions which is an important condition for its success.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

The Project will be strengthened by establishing long-term fruitful partnerships with wide range of national and foreign NGOs, businesses, local authorities, and govermental institutions. Finding partners will be facilitated by the succesful implementation of the first stages of the Project which will prove it to be sustainable and promising.
Various funding opportunities will be found in order to ensure financial sustainability of the Project. Besides financial contributions from local businesses and individuals, it's expected to attract financial resources from international funds and organizations. Economic crisis in Belarus obligates the project management team to not be dependent exclusively on internal funding.
Sustainable development of the Project in each city or town is expected to be ensured on local level in the future by support of local authorities, businesses and individuals.

Challenges
Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of physical access to care/lack of facilities

SECONDARY

Limited human capital (trained physicians, nurses, etc.)

TERTIARY

Lack of access to targeted health information and education

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Though the issues of rehabilitation and social integration of disabled people are addressed in Belarus, low attention is devoted to promoting benefits of practicing sports among amateur disabled athletes. Wide range of disabled people in Belarus is simply not aware of such opportunities. Besides lack of information, other major obstacles for amateur disabled athletes still exist. Organizing sport practices for disabled people implies the involvement of qualified coaches. Only a limited number of Belarusian coaches currently have sufficient skills required for training disabled children. Special transportation is also needed in order to make sport practices available for disabled children
The Project tackles all the barriers mentioned and is expected to change the situation dramatically.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

SECONDARY

Grown geographic reach: Multi-country

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

The Project is expected to increase its impact by graduate increase of the areas involved. It's expected to involve all the major cities and towns of Belarus less than in three years.
Cooperating with various organizations within the country will allow to introduce the products of the Project into their everyday practices.
Moreover, planned future cooperation with foreign NGOs is expected to lead to extensive experience exchange. Therefore, best practices gained in course of the Project will be transferred to other countries which will also increase its impact.
In several years the Project is expected to evolve from national level to the international one involving neighbouring countries and leading to cross-border experience exchange.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Currently, our main partner is ICPA "Health into XXI Century" located in Minsk, Belarus. This NGO provides disabled children who are participating in the Project with psychosocial rehabilitation services at special cabinet. The organization also covers all the expenses related to the functioning of the cabinet.
Collaboration with ICPA "Health into XXI Century" enables the Project to provide disabled children with comprehensive assistance and support and raise the effectiveness of rehabilitation and social integration of the athletes.