BlazeSports – Haiti Cultural Exchange Experience

Haitians Wrap Up Exchange Trip to United States

After a busy weekend, the Haitian group of campers and leaders, who are participating in our U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited funded exchange trip, made their way to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA to spend five days at BlazeCamp.

After unpacking their bags, the Haitian group leaders joined their American peers for camp training while the campers took a tour of the Little White House. There they learned about the history of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who himself had a physical disability but never let this get in the way of his career and achievements.

The following day the U.S. campers arrived and from the outset it was evident that the language barrier was not going to be a big issue when I came to both groups interacting and having fun. It didn’t take long for everyone to start to relax and enjoy playing games with one another. Throughout the week more and more friendships were created between the two groups. U.S. camper Derek Duvell’s favorite part of the week was getting to know the Haitians and learning more about their culture.

During camp, both the Haitian campers and leaders were trying new activities they’ve never experienced before. Some activities included learning to swim, archery and track and field events. A common favorite was being able to go out on the lake in canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. Everyone was having a good time Kayakrowing under the fountain to cool off on the hot day. A true culture exchange moment came during the nights at the camp fire where the leaders taught everyone games that Haitian children play in their country. All the campers were smiling, laughing and enjoying learning the new games.

On the last night of camp, everyone dressed up and threw on a cowboy hat, bandana and sheriff badges for the hoedown party. Once they heard the music, people were showing off their best dance moves and having a great time. To end the week at camp, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games where more activities were played. Once the day started wrapping up, it was time to say goodbye to a group of people who truly made the week an unforgettable one.Haitians Hoedown

For their last day, the group was able to buy some souvenirs for themselves and family members and have an “all American” style sleepover at the Powder Springs First United Methodist Church.

Everyone was sad to see the Haitian exchange group fly on Sunday after 10 fantastic days in Atlanta but at the same time happy that new lasting friendships had been established. 

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Posted in Camp, Featured, Global Initiatives, Haiti, International, Internships, News |

BlazeSports Delivers Second Mini Festival to Promote Physical Activity in Haiti

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This past week, BlazeSports Haiti organized the second of four mini festivals designed to promote physical activity in Haiti. This second mini sports festival included the participation of 74 students (36 females) from the Monfort Institute.

The Monfort Institute, led by Sister Mona Haig, is a well-known religious institution in Haiti that works with young people who have visual impairments, blindness and deafness,  with ages ranging from 3 to 20 years of age. The institution has more than 350 students of whom 92 are serving as interns. They offer courses ranging from kindergarten to professional technical studies, and with branches in three areas of the country, the Monfort Institute is undoubtedly one of the major centers for deaf education in Haiti.

The festival activities took place, thanks to funding from USAID, US Department of State – Sports United, and the United Nations Office for Sport Development and Peace, in a fun and festive atmosphere, featuring workshops of athletics, including boccia, volleyball, recreational games and a major focus on football. Under the guidance of six specialized BlazeSports leaders and with the help of Monfort Institute staff, the students participated in activities for 4 hours straight, demonstrating great sportsmanship and friendly interactions throughout the day. 

In addition to the success of the activities, we must also mention that President of the National Paralympic Committee of Haiti, Jean Chevalier Sanon, as well as sports journalist of Le Nouvelliste, Enock Nere, made visits to the festival to observe the activities. 

 My World 2015

BlazeSports and Haitian kids suggested priority for the UN Global Survey for a better world: Sport for Development

 

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The girls from the Monfort Institute warming up to take part in the physical activities.

 

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BlazeSports trained coaches lead stretching before the soccer session.

 
Posted in Featured, Football 7-a-side, Haiti, International, News |

BlazeSports Delivers Mini Festivals to Promote Physical Activity in Haiti

Thanks to funding from USAID, UN Office of Sport Development and Peace, and Department of State and in partnership with local schools in the Port-Au-Prince metropolitan area, BlazeSports will organize four mini festivals to promote physical activity for kids with disabilities.

The first mini festival was attended by 64 children and youth, 23 of them girls, with physical and learning disabilities at the Center Foyer d’Amour in Haiti.

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The activity began with a welcoming from Daniel Pierre-Charles, BlazeSports country director, followed by words of thanks from the director of Foyer d’Amour Rose May Legouté.

The mini festival commenced in a supportive and festive atmosphere, where the participants seemed very happy. After four hours of learning and fun games, the kids from Foyer d’Amour thanked BlazeSports for offering a full day of physical activities where they could showcase their talent and prove that their disability do not prevent them from being physical active.

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Hopefully in the near future BlazeSports, in partnership with local schools, will be able to offer continuing programme for kids with disabilities. Rose May Legouté, the director of Foyer D’amour, thanked this type of activities that allow kids to increase their self-esteem, to value each one ability that is often undervalued even in their own home, and to show each one of the kids the potential they have.

The second Mini Festival will be delivered in early May, in partnership with Monfort Institute.

These mini festivals are part of a multi-agency project in Haiti that aims to promote Adapted Physical Education at three centers in the metropolitan area of Port au Prince.

Posted in Featured, Haiti, News |

Haitian’s Prepare for Sports United Funded Trip to US BlazeCamp

BlazeSports Haiti this week hosted a workshop in Port-au-Prince for parents of the 12 Haitian children with physical disabilities who will be travelling to Atlanta for BlazeCamp in May.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the parents to learn more about the exciting activities that their children will experience during their trip to the US between May 24th–June 2nd . It also provided the chance for those attending to meet with the six emerging Haitian sports leaders who will be accompanying the group.

During the exchange trip the children will be attending BlazeCamp at Roosevelt Warm Springs, from May 28th – June 1st and will have the opportunity to experience a taste of American life during several excursions around the City of Atlanta.

During the workshop the parents were shown a short video of the training in which the Haitian leaders had recently participated in preparation for the trip, and were provided with some background on the Sports United program.

Haiti Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6npzInkpoYI

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The parents were also shown video of some of the activities the children will be participating during their time at BlazeCamp and given the opportunity to ask questions.

BlazeCamp Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l4AqIe4LSU

Director of BlazeSports Haiti, Daniel Pierre Charles said “some of the parents are naturally nervous regarding the exchange trip but we tried to provide them with as much information as possible and we used team building sessions for them to get to know the staff and also each other.  In the end everyone was extremely excited about this once in a life time opportunity”.

Do you stay in the US and want your child to have the opportunity to be at BlazeSports Summer Camp?  Sign up your child for BlazeCamp now!

Registration form: http://www.blazesports.org/programs/blazecamp/

For more information regarding BlazeCamp and other opportunities for children and youth with physical disabilities please contact our office: email info@blazesports.org or telephone 404 270 2000.

 

Posted in Camp, Featured, Haiti, News |

Video Exclusive: Sport as a Vehicle of Change in Haiti

 

As part of its multi-year project, funded by USAID,  US Department of State (SportsUnited) and the UNOSDP, BlazeSports is continuing to provide new and improved opportunities for people with disabilities in Haiti to participate in sport. Following our extensive in country work, and with specific support from SportsUnited, a delegation of 20 youth with disabilities and emerging leaders from Haiti will travel to Georgia to participate in BlazeSports Summer Camp. Youth with disabilities from Haiti will join with their peers from Georgia and across the US in a 10 day cultural sports exchange at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. The residential camp will include track and field, swimming, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, boccia, wheelchair lacrosse, and table tennis. Additional activities include water skiing, scuba, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, camp fires and bowling.

The video below provides an insight to the activities which Blaze staff and US based exchanged participants experienced when they recently traveled to Haiti:

– See more at: http://www.blazesports.org/2013/02/haitians-to-participate-in-blazecamp/#sthash.Q601p4tj.dpuf

 

 

 

 

During the 7 day sport and cultural exchange experience, BlazeSports had a key role in supporting the Haitian Paralympic Committee National Disability Sport Festival. Additionally, Blaze staff delivered Paralympic sport training to 96 young leaders, coaches, and instructors in order to increase capacity of Haitians involved in Paralympic sport. Moreover, BlazeSports provided a cultural exchange opportunity for 4 Americans including 3 members of the US Paralympic soccer team and a sport management student from Springfield College.

 

Posted in Camp, Featured, Haiti, International, News |