It has been more than two months since the 2014 – 2015 school year began. During this time, Motivation Romania Foundation and Special Olympics Romania Foundation organized activities to enhance the inclusion of children with disabilities – wheelchair users – who are enrolled in the mainstream schools.
The ‘SO Get to it!’ Program aims at promoting social and educational inclusion of disabled children, by facilitating understanding and acceptance of disability among teachers and children from mainstream schools participating in the program. The ‘SO Get to it!’ Program and the ‘SO Get to it!’ teacher manual and student book were presented to 20 teachers in two of the mainstream schools in Bucharest:
- Secondary School No. 119, on October 24, 2014
- Secondary School No. 280, on November 13, 2014.
We were very glad to see how open minded and involved were all the teachers who attended these sessions and we estimate that approximately 350 students will receive, over the upcoming months, information regarding the topics in the ‘SO Get to it!’ manuals: tolerance, respect, inclusion, non-discrimination, and volunteering. The participants in the program will find out the impressive stories of several young adults with disabilities living in Romania, who attended other mainstream schools: Catia and Sabina Radu in Brasov, Vlad Stamate and Șerban Nicolescu in Bucharest and Ioana Ciobanu in Oradea.
On November 27, 2014 we organized the ‘SO Get to it!’ seminar at Secondary School No. 280, for 37 students. They had various activities and presentations together with their colleagues who have physical disabilities and are enrolled in the project. After the activity, we had a wheelchair basketball demonstration in the gym that welcomed 83 students. This was the first time for most of the participants to see such an event and they were all impressed to see that in spite of their disability, wheelchair users are involved in sports activities, enjoy what they are doing and give out positive vibes. The ten players are part of the Motivation Romania Foundation’s wheelchair basketball team.
Claudiu, who is in the 6th grade, said that he found the event ‘great and funny’, and that he appreciates the players for being able play basketball even if they can’t walk and the fact that they are fighters. Tudor, an eighth grader, thinks that wheelchair basketball is a lot more difficult and dangerous that regular basketball, and the players have to put a lot of effort into it. He said: honestly, I am very impressed with everything these wheelchair users are able to do. As far as Isabela, 6th grade, is concerned, wheelchair basketball is more enjoyable than regular basketball. And she is happy that there are such sports that can make happy those who can’t walk.
These activities are part of the Access to Education, Services and Community for Wheelchair Users Project, financed through the EEA 2009 – 2014 grants, within the NGO Fund in Romania and aim to facilitate the social and school inclusion of wheelchair users enrolled in mainstream schools.
For information regarding the above mentioned project, please contact Iuliana Eftimie, social worker (phone 0728 176 179, e-mail email@example.com).