Published: Monday, March 29, 2021, 5:03 p.m. [IST]
Chennai, March 29th: From March 26-27, 2021, the US Consulate General in Chennai, in cooperation with the non-profit organization Pravah, hosted a virtual workshop entitled “Creating Disability-Friendly Sports Ecosystems”. The workshop was led by Pravah from New Delhi and Indian alumni of the US State Department’s professional exchange programs – International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and Global Sports Mentoring Program. US exchange alumni Justin Jesudas, CEO of the Spinal Foundation, and Simy TA, pediatric physiotherapist at the Vidya Sagar Special Education Center, jointly designed the workshop to raise awareness and commitment to an inclusive and disabled-friendly sports ecosystem in India. The Tamil language workshop also used the interpretation of Indian sign language.
During the workshop, a group of 30 different participants, including government officials, educators, teachers, representatives of NGOs, business sector supporters and individuals committed to inclusive development, developed strategies to promote inclusive sport ecosystems, tools and action plans.
Moulik Berkana, Cultural Representative for the US Consulate General in Chennai, said: “Supporting inclusivity and equal access to opportunity are important shared values between our two democracies. I am inspired by the work of our local partners in promoting the rights of people with disabilities Moving India forward despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “
Justin Jesudas shared the history of the parasports movement, emphasizing that society’s support for parasports raises awareness of the importance of an accessible sports environment for people with disabilities. Justin said: “There are over 30 million people with disabilities in India, most of whom are unaware that they can play sport for either recreation or competition. I am here to advocate a more inclusive India and people with disabilities through sport to strengthen. “
Pediatric physical therapist Simy TA shared real-time examples of sports such as bocce ball and adaptive cricket to create an environment for adaptive sports. She said, “To create an inclusive world, I create adaptive games that suit each player’s skills and difficulties so that participation is guaranteed on an equal footing.”
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