BlazeSports hosted the first series of events of the Sports for All Project on August 14th and 15th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These events mark the opening of the activities of the project funded by USAID in Brazil since its inauguration in March and were hosted in partnership with SMEL (Municipal Secretary for Sports and Leisure for the city of Rio de Janeiro). The location chosen for the training sessions this time was “Vila Olimpica Honorio Gurgel” a local community sports and recreation park which is a model for accessibility and programs for people with disabilities in Rio de Janeiro.
On Friday August 14th, BlazeSports implemented a 5 hour workshop for 22 Physical Education professionals from SMEL on strategies for inclusion through sports, with a 2 hour classroom instruction, followed by a practical training on sitting volleyball.
According to Felipe Rodrigues, BlazeSports Director of Sport for Development “the workshop was very engaging and the professionals trained had the opportunity of collaborating with each other while learning new skills to implement inclusive physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities in their communities.”
On Saturday, BlazeSports, in partnership with SMEL, hosted an inclusive sports festival where 184 children and youth
with disabilities participated in activities such as track and field, swimming, sitting volleyball and dance/recreational activities. The same 22 professionals trained on Friday were the ones running the festival, and were able to demonstrate the skills learned. They also had the support of 34 volunteers from the Honório Gurgel community. The festival had approximately 150 people in attendance including a special visit from Judith Heumann, the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, as well as Mr. Marcos Braz, the Secretary for Leisure and Sports for the city of Rio de Janeiro and other local authorities. The event was a powerful demonstration of how sport can empower people with disabilities to lead active lifestyles and integrate into society. Ms. Judith Heumann was very pleased to see up close the results of the work being done by the city of Rio and pointed out how a project such as “Sports For All” can help such initiatives in preparing professionals and lowering barriers for inclusion.