The Inclusive Sports Centre offers opportunities for athletic training to those living with or without disabilities, bringing the Haitian community together to combat stigma.
“The universal popularity of sport and the physical, social and economic developmental benefits derived from it, make it an ideal tool for fostering the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities” ~United Nations
In Haiti, prejudice against people with disabilities is seen as a major obstacle for the integration into society of persons with disabilities. In a recent local survey, which has been conducted through our community rehabilitation workers, among 66 families with a disabled child, living in the north of Haiti, 77.3% have faced discrimination and abuse due to their child’s disability. Of these persons, 93% stated that they face daily discrimination and abuse. The participants stated that verbal abuse and discrimination were most frequent, but that physical and sexual abuse was also committed.
Sport is known to be a fantastic tool to tackle stigma and social discrimination. Our new Inclusive Sports Centre officially opened on November 15th 2012, and is one of Haiti’s first facilities dedicated to serving both those living with and without disability. Providing an inclusive and accessible facility empowers persons with disabilities, supporting their physical and emotional rehabilitation. It also challenges the misconceptions of disability within the community by overcoming negative stereotypes, and highlighting people’s ability rather than their disability!
The Centre is comprised of an outdoor multipurpose court, throwing field, and indoor state-of-the-art gym. It resides directly adjacent to our Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Centre, the only center of its kind in Haiti’s north region, which provides national support for persons with spinal cord injuries. The sports centre provides opportunities for adults and children to participate in recreational sport for fun, as well as competitive athletes, like London 2012 Paralympian, Leon Gaisli, who’s now one of our sports coaches!