By Rio 2016
Students from a school for people with an impairment will be among the fans at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games thanks to an initiative that will bring thousands of youngsters to the venues for free.
The Rio 2016 Transforma Education team and teachers at the CIESP Diogo Levenhagen School for students with special needs have overcome logistical challenges to ensure 22 students with differing intellectual impairments will watch the wheelchair basketball competition at Barra Olympic Park.
The school is located in Volta Redonda in the west of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The Rio 2016 organising committee has partnered with the Rio de Janeiro state government to provide 33,000 tickets for local teenagers and students with an impairment, including students at the special needs school in Volta Redonda.
The students each require close care by professional adult assistants. The Transforma team has been working to organise bus transport, the distribution of lunches, and even to ensure t-shirts are provided for all.
Head teacher Rosangela Carvalho de Castro and special education teacher Mara Moulin Freire say the students are excited about their upcoming trip.
“They shouted with joy when I announced we were going to Rio de Janeiro,” said Carvalho de Castro.
“They are extremely happy, with big smiles. Going to the Paralympic Games is the only thing they talk about. They have been decorating the school walls with colourful artwork inspired by the Games.
“My students in wheelchairs were over the moon. It's great for them to see people who play sport in a wheelchair.”