The majority of disabled people face poverty and discrimination. Moreover, disabled refugees face double vulnerability: “They are among the most marginalized in an already disposed group” (Refugees International, 2003).
The challenges currently facing Europe on how migrants and refugees can be successfully integrated into local communities are not short-term and will remain on the political agenda for the foreseeable future. These challenges can be seen as three-fold: economic, legal and social. This third aspect – the challenge of social integration – is of particular interest when it comes to sport.
It is highly accepted that Sport and physical activity can be extremely valuable not only for participants’ physical and mental health, but also in the context of their social inclusion and integration. It also provides those with an opportunity to find and show their talents and challenge commonly-held stereotypes.
The unique ability of sports to transcend linguistic, cultural and social barriers makes it an excellent platform for strategies of inclusion and adaptation. Furthermore, the universal popularity of sport and its physical, social and economic development benefits make it an ideal tool for fostering the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.
The vision of the three-year STEADY project is to increase sports participation of Displaced Youth with Disabilities (DYD) by promoting volunteering and equal access of migrants & minorities to organized and grassroots sport.
The main subject area that STEADY project develops is to combat violence and tackle racism, discrimination and intolerance and to encourage social inclusion and equal opportunities in sport.
STEADY is a project that focuses on changing the paradigm, bringing migrants and refugees with disabilities from the margins to become integral members of the sporting community.
The consortium of the project is consisted of the following partners: Hellenic Paralympic Committee (Greece), Serbian Paralympic Committee (Serbia), Equal Society (Greece), Attivamente (Italy), Vienna Institue for Development and Cooperation (Austria), Play and Train (Spain), Centro Social de Soutelo (Portugal), Footura (Bulgaria) and Agitos Foundation (Development arm of the International Paralympic Committee). The partnership was selected in a way that assures the highest quality performance. Each partner has an experience which will bring unique input to the project.
This newsletter represents selected highlights of the work done during the first 6 months of the project, through a sample of the latest project outputs and related news stories by project partners.
STEADY Project kick-off meeting in Barcelona SPAIN
The STEADY project has held its project kick-off meeting on April 8, 2019, at the project partner’s (Play and Train) facilities in Barcelona, Spain. A total of 16 participants attended the workshop, including 4 people from the host organization and 7 people from the remaining partners of the project.
The consortium presented the aims of the project and the activities that will be conducted during the project’s life cycle and discussed about its status and the tasks ahead. The aim of the meeting was to facilitate the cooperation between the different project stakeholders in which partners gained a deeper knowledge of the background of each organization and better understood the project vision and the proposed means to achieve that vision.
Overall, the meeting was an enriching experience that increased the mutual understanding among the consortium, and also highlighted the challenges involved due to its heterogeneity.
STEADY Project website and social media channels
The official STEADY project website was launched in May 2019 (steady-project.eu). The website was created by the Hellenic Paralympic Committee in cooperation with the Serbian Paralympic Committee and at the moment contains basic information on the project, its objectives, and its partners. The STEADY website will feature news, project’s findings and updates, such as reports, policy briefs as well as opportunities for collaboration, e.g. events announcements, workshops and training sessions. Also, all the tools and guidelines that will be developed in the context of the STEADY project will be available on the website in downloadable format. The website is currently available in English, but its most important content will also be translated in Spanish, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Austrian, Bulgarian and Serbian. Along with the website the STEADY Project has also launched its social media channels on Facebook (STEADY-Project), Instagram (steadyproject), Twitter (steady_project), and LinkedIn (STEADY Project). Since the development of networking and an expanded stakeholder list is one of the main goals of the project, special focus was given to the development of social media channels.
STEADY Project Activities
The project is coordinated by the Hellenic Paralympic Committee and its outputs and deliverables are divided into three main categories.
- The first category includes development of networking and an expanded stakeholders’ list that will promote the important role that sports can have towards the inclusion of refugees and immigrants with disabilities in European Society. Agitos Foundation, as an international organization, was decided to lead this activity.
- The second category includes the development of a Handbook and a Manual that will describe good practices that can encourage and help organizations use sports as a mean of empowerment and inclusion of refugees and immigrants with disabilities in their local communities. Equal Society was decided to lead these outputs as well as the quality assurance plan and evaluation procedures of the project.
- The third category includes participation of refugees with disabilities in para sports training programs and grassroots sport activities such as the European Week of Sports as well as the STEADY Action Week. All partners will be involved in this area. Attivamente will coordinate the dissemination plan as well as the baseline study of the STEADY Project where all partners will conduct research on national level about the reality of refugees and immigrants with disabilities in their countries.