Episode 24:

Sport 4 Socialisation

Published: April 2012: Updated: June 2013, August 2017

Partners: Isabel de Vugt and Sport 4 Socialisation

Sport 4 Socialisation is doing some great work in using the power of sport to transform lives in Africa. They aim to improve the quality of life and promote social inclusion of youth and children living with disabilities. They are practical and they are making a difference. Read all about them.

The Inclusion Club—Episode27: Isabel de VugtWe’ve said it before and we’ll probably say it many times in the future—one of the things we love about The Inclusion Club is suddenly hearing about fantastic inclusion initiatives from around the world. People just contact us and send us information about some truly marvellous work, often in very challenging circumstances.

So it’s a great pleasure to share with you today the work of Sport 4 Socialisation sent to us by Inclusion Club subscriber Isabel de Vugt. Thanks Isabel.

Everybody has the right to fully take part in his/her community, equal rights and an HIV/AIDS free environment. Most wonderful is that with the projects of S4S we contribute to a better world for the people involved through adapted and integrated leisure activities!

—Isabel de Vugt

Isabel studied Sport, Health and Management at the Hanzehogeschool in Groningen, The Netherlands, and Sport for Development at the University for Professional Education in Breda. She graduated in Sport and Development at the International Research Academy for Leisure and Tourism.

Isabel is a specialist in using adapted physical activity as a tool to improve social inclusion and raise awareness of people with disabilities in developing countries. After her studies she worked for different development projects in Africa.

In 2007 she established Sport 4 Socialisation which is based in The Netherlands and operating in Zimbabwe.

The Inclusion Club—Episode24: S4S LogoS4S has the aim to improve the quality of life and promote social inclusion of youth and children living with disabilities and their families. They do this through the Social Inclusion Program. This is a holistic and family orientated approach. The program is currently being implemented in Zimbabwe and since 2007 has worked with over 500 children with disabilities and their families. No better way to show you what they aim to achieve than watching this short video.

The Inclusion Club—Episode24 CoverChildren are invited to participate in adapted and all inclusive physical activities and games in their community. They participate together with their able-bodied peers while their parents and guardians are formally organised into Parent Support Groups where they design their programs themselves according to their needs. Examples of how the Parent Support Groups spend their time are:

  • Taking part in an internal savings and lending programme;
  • Taking part in income generating activities such as poultry, school uniform sewing project, knitting project and organic garden project;
  • Discussing, sometimes with the help of facilitators, key problems and issues faced and how these might be overcome (for example: legal issues, human rights and public health awareness), and
  • Assisting with the implementation of activities for their children.

The Inclusion Club—Episode24The adapted physical activities and games for the children and the Parent Support Groups help S4S to identify any other needs the child and family may have. Individual rehabilitation plans are then developed and may include:

  • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy
  • Assistance with school fees, uniforms and mediation for placement in resource units and special schools
  • Corrective surgeries
  • Assistive devices (wheelchairs, modified shoes, callipers, crutches etc.)
  • Medication

The Inclusion Club—Episode24S4S does not only focus on the physical rehabilitation of the child but empowers families with information, training and access to economic activities that in turn help to raise awareness and advocacy in communities.

HIV/AIDS awareness activities (behavioural change programmes and Kicking AIDS Out) are an integral part of all the Social Inclusion Programme activities.

As you can see S4S does not only focus on the child itself but believes that the rehabilitation programs should include the child, the family and the community they live in and that program activities should include the social, physical, educational, medical and economic aspects.

In 2011 they compiled a handbook on disability for primary schools in Zimbabwe together with the other co-founding members of the Disabled Children Initiative of Zimbabwe. S4S wrote the booklets on Social Inclusion in Zimbabwe and Adapted and Inclusive Physical Activity. Soon these handbooks will be distributed throughout the country.

If you would like to read more about the excellent work of S4S then download the fact sheet below:

PDF IconClick to Download the Fact Sheet PDF

It is also worthwhile checking out their Facebook site for the latest happenings. Just click on the image below:

The Inclusion Club—Episode24: S4S Facebook Page

The website provides a heap more information about S4S. Lots of lessons here, not least, a shining example of the power of sport and importance of it in the lives of people with disabilities.

That’s it for this episode—catch you soon.

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About the author: Peter Downs

About the author: Peter Downs

Founding Director - The Inclusion Club

Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit.  In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.