Location and general information
In Russia, there are still many obstacles to the integration of people with Down syndrome into the community. Sport assists social integration since it develops physical and mental abilities, improves emotional and psychological well-being, and teaches teamworking and social skills. However, there are still insufficient clubs, coaches, methods and conditions to enable children with Down syndrome in Russia to engage in sports, including football.
The Football for Children with Down Syndrome project began in 2015, when the charitable foundations Syndrome of Love and Downside Up started to teach football to children and teenagers with Down syndrome in Moscow. Through active promotion of the methodology, the project has spread to 12 other major Russian cities. More than 1,300 sessions took place between 2015 and 2019, with over 200 children with Down syndrome benefiting from regular football lessons.
The project has proven its value and effectiveness for children with Down syndrome. Regular physical activity is vital as a means of physical, mental and social development.
Football for Children with Down Syndrome is the first initiative in Russia that teaches children with Down syndrome how to play as a team. They attend football training sessions several times a week, participate in friendly games and other sports events, and attend football matches.
The project plans to organise:
- professional development courses at the Russian State Social University (RSSU) to train 15 coaches how to organise mini-football lessons for children with Down syndrome;
- training camps for children with Down syndrome from Moscow and other regions;
- an intensive training course in better competition preparation, sports form, and football skills;
- a mini-football competition at the end of the project (in autumn 2021).
- Stimulate the physical development of children with Down syndrome and improve their communication and social skills through regular football playing
- Popularise sports, physical activity and football among children and teenagers with Down syndrome and their families
- Draw attention to sports for children with Down syndrome among parents and the professional community
- Create a friendly and tolerant environment for people with Down syndrome that supports equal rights and opportunities
- Conducting regular football classes for children with Down syndrome
- Organising training camps and refresher courses for coaches from Moscow
- Conducting advanced training courses at RSSU for 15 trainers
- Holding training camps for paritcipants from Moscow and other regions for a total of 150 people (children with Down syndrome, coaches, volunteers and organisers)
- Holding mini-football competitions for children with Down syndrome
- Physical development in children and young people with Down syndrome
- Broader range of communication skills to compensate for difficulties with speech
- Active leisure time
- Improved socialisation skills and independence
- Raised awareness at government level of the need for sports development for children with Down syndrome
- Increased tolerance towards people with Down syndrome and other disorders in Russian society