Several years ago there were not many opportunities for young people with a disability to access sport, and teaching was not particularly inclusive.
After a recent visit at the International Inspiration Legacy Conference in Azerbaijani’s capital Baku from the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Sir Philip Craven, it was clear that the ambitious programme is showing how sport can bring a change in attitudes, beliefs and national laws. Two national policies have been passed since its inception in Azerbaijan, including the National Strategy on Paralympic Education and the Sport Development, and a Law on Paralympic Education and Sport.
The trip from the IPC President was also on the occasion of the legacy day, which began with children and young people showcasing various activities in a mini-sports festival. The day continued with presentations and working groups which discussed sustainability on different projects and programmes.
The President said that the change in attitudes impressed him the most.
“Several years ago there were not many opportunities for young people with a disability to access sport, and teaching was not particularly inclusive,” Sir Philip said. “In Azerbaijan, International Inspiration has been working in partnership with the National Paralympic Committee to help Football and Volleyball organizations in providing opportunities for children with a disability and to teach awareness, sensitivity and social integration. Training has also been provided for teachers and young leaders who now understand how to bring out the best in children.”
International Inspiration is London 2012’s official international sports legacy programme. It aims to deliver on the ‘Singapore vision’ – the promise made by the London 2012 bid team to ‘reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport’. Using the power of high-quality physical education, sport and play, International Inspiration works to enrich the lives of millions children and young people of all abilities across the world.
During his visit to Baku, Sir Philip also awarded the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, with the Paralympic Honour. The Paralympic Honour is bestowed on high-ranking dignitaries, officials and other persons outside the Paralympic Movement who have contributed significantly to the Movement.
For more information about the programme, please visit www.london2012.com/get-involved/education/international-inspiration.