Location and general information
The Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, a school for blind children in Bamako, is home to 250 disabled children, where they live and study in difficult conditions. Since 2012, Libre Vue has provided a blind football programme to promote the schoolchildren’s access to sport and contribute to their personal development, health and inclusion.
The Solidarité Aveugle programme initially developed blind football at the school as a leisure activity for the children by creating a pitch and training coaches. Over time the programme has expanded to include other activities. Mali’s national blind football team was created out of the centre’s best players, coming 10th in the 2018 Blind Football World Championships and 2nd in the 2017 and 2019 Blind Football African Championships. The programme has also involved drilling a well to supply the school with drinking water, planting an organic vegetable garden to improve canteen food and raising public awareness about disability.
A total of 120 young people aged 6–20, 20% of whom are girls, take part in four weekly training sessions and have access to the Maison Cécifoot (home of blind football) equipped with showers and changing rooms.
Despite the tragic events in Mali, over the past eight years Libre Vue has provided sports and solidarity activities for blind children with the support of its partners. The current objective is to upgrade its infrastructure with an artificial turf pitch that will allow the Solidarité Aveugle programme to become self-funding by organising events and hiring out the pitch.
- Operating the blind football centre in 2021: holding training sessions, providing sports equipment and mobility aids (white canes), organising exhibition matches and arranging public awareness raising events.
- Installing an artificial pitch: importing the turf from France, building and under-pitch drainage system, installing the pitch, inaugurating the pitch.
- Improved playing conditions: replacing the dirt pitch will improve safety and enjoyment of the game and attract more children (25% more at the start of the 2021 school year).
- Reach: coverage of the new facilities with help to publicise blind football in Mali and change attitudes towards disability (30% more followers on the Mali blind football Facebook page – 500 people more disability aware through blind football).
- Elite level football: the pitch will be used by the national team for official matches or training (plan to hold a regional African tournament in 2022).
- Funding: events, hiring out the pitch and the involvement of local partners will partially fund the activities (25% expected in 2022).