Something is finally happening again!
The pandemic has stopped the world for a while. Inspired by Sport also had to suspend his activities. Therefore, I took care of very important things:
- writing a book about traditional sports and games (pre-accepted for publication by the British, scientific publishin house!) and
- creating this, English version of my blog.
In the recent weeks, however, I have finally had a great opportunity to return to the implementation of some of my practical activities, including an important, international sports project.
Erasmus+ Sport Project OSMOSIS – Harnessing the Power of Sports Marketing as an Innovative Approach to Increase Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities, as its name suggests, focuses on:
- increasing and equalizing the opportunities of people with disabilities and
- including them into social life through active integration.
Six Partner organizations of the Project from 6 different countries will receive a set of tools, related to sports marketing, thanks to which they will be able to better run and promote their institutions, working with people with disabilities.
Poland and project Partner Countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Latvia and Estonia – really need such support.
The project assumes, among others, the organization of:
- practical workshops for Partners,
- sports integration events (especially friendly games in boccia), during which Partners will be able to implement the acquired project tools for practical activities,
- international project meetings for the organization of the above-mentioned activities and for the integration of Partner Countries and their inhabitants.
More about the OSMOSIS Project you can read HERE.
Current state of the Project
We are currently in the second year of the Project. Despite the difficult pandemic situation, we have managed to conduct the workshops with our three Partners – Croatia, Macedonia and Bulgaria. Below, I am briefly describing the workshops in Bulgaria.
OSMOSIS Project in Bulgaria
In the city of Kyustendil (Western Bulgaria), as the representatives of the OSMOSIS Project Leader – Sport and Rehabilitation Association START – we have conducted presentations and workshops, showing:
- the current state of the OSMOSIS Project, incl. an analysis of all the tools that the Partners have received so far and the tasks they had to perform (including creating a professional press note, a SWOT analysis and an offer for sponsors),
- discussion about the organization of the next year’s event – OSMOSIS Open Event – for all people interested – with boccia friendly games, during which able-bodied and people with disabilities will be integrating with each other by playing boccia together. Partners will also be able to implement and promote the results of the OSMOSIS Project there.
Boccia in Bulgaria
The second important event was the organization of a friendly game of boccia in the centre of Kyustendil as a test event with people of all ages, gender, physical abilities and disabilities.
Boccia is a very interesting and increasingly popular sport, similar to, among others, French les boules. It roughly consists in trying to throw or roll the ball (red or blue) as close to the white ball (called “jack”) as possible.
I have written more about boccia in my other article (in Polish, but soon also in English), which you can read here.
The games took place in a charming park in the centre of Kyustendil.
To play the game, all you need is a set of balls and some space to draw a court. In the park, two courts were easily drawn, using just a blue chalk.
Both young people (children and teenage volunteers from the local folk dance group) and the elderly have taken part in the game together.
Women and men were playing in one team. Able-bodied and people with disabilities were competing together.
The oldest participant was a 93 years old (!) Vera. She was playing in a wheelchair and turned out to be a pretty good player. An unusual surprise from her part was waiting all the participants at the end – Vera sang a Bulgarian folk song and received a well-deserved applause.
The importance of traditional and adapted games
The power of traditional games, and at the same time adapted games, such as boccia, is that literally everyone can play them. As I mentioned, in friendly boccia competitions older and younger people, women and men, able-bodied and people with disabilities were participating together.
For people with disabilities, it is a great opportunity to spend their time in an interesting and valuable way.
This is extremely important. In the past, people with disabilities in Poland did not have many opportunities to be active. Some of them were almost doomed to stay closed in their homes. They did not have many possibilities to take an active part in society as they can now.
Not to mention much earlier times, when such people were all around the world left for dead or thrown from the rocks, because they delayed marching of the entire, nomadic group.
Fortunately, it belongs to the past. Now, thanks to games like boccia, they can:
- actively participate in sports competitions,
- leave home and meet their friends and acquaintances,
- spend time, playing an interesting and “addictive” game.
In addition, thanks to numerous competitions in boccia, they become their active heroes. They are in the spotlight, becoming athletes, competing, winning, being applauded, standing on the podium, receiving medals etc.
It is the incredible power of traditional and adapted games.
Project OSMOSIS continues
In the upcoming months we will be continuing our project, by organizing further presentations, workshops and events with games, thanks to which everyone interested, including people with various disabilities, will be able to actively and very positively spend their time together!
My next activity – practical classes at the Porta Posnania
In October, if the situation permits, everyone interested will finally be able to play a couple of traditional games again! We will be taking care of health and safety of the participants.
Traditional games will be:
- Swedish kubb,
- Polish game, called the chapel,
- French-English croquet,
- Italian boccia.
Everyone is cordially invited! 🙂