Location and general information
After 26 years of fighting, Sri Lanka’s civil war between government forces and Tamil separatists ended in 2009. However, no real peace was achieved and the root causes of the conflict remain unresolved. Deep mistrust between and within groups arising from ethnic, regional, religious and linguistic differences and political identity continues to erode the fabric of Sri Lankan society. As a result of extreme poverty, social injustice and a lack of knowledge in the community, people with disabilities face daily stigmatisation and are denied their basic needs and rights. Children and women with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and marginalised groups. Excluded from education and economic opportunities, they have little chance of employment and are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.
Sri Lanka is currently embarking on a post-conflict reconciliation process. Sport can be a powerful tool for promoting peace, inclusion, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. Its intrinsic values, such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for opponents and the rules of the game, are understood all over the world and can be harnessed to promote solidarity, social cohesion, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.
Moreover, sports and leisure activities promote the holistic development of all children, not just those with disabilities, helping to improve concentration, respect for others, environmental awareness and well-being. In Sri Lanka, however, sport is not yet properly developed for children and young people with and without disabilities, very few sports events are organised at local and district levels, and there is a lack of coordination of disabled sports activities
Humanity and inclusion are the key words of Handicap International (HI) and its partners, the Centre for Accessibility, Monitoring and Information on Disability (CAMID) and the Women’s Development Centre (WDC).
CAMID, based in Batticaloa, will focus on improving the quality of life of disabled people and their families, promoting their active participation and social inclusion.
The WDC will mobilise young girls and families to implement activities in their respective districts, using a rights-based approach to challenge violations of children’s and women’s rights.
The project will take place in the highly ethnically mixed districts of Batticaloa and Ampara, in the Eastern Province, where inequalities and tensions prevail.
Activities and training will focus on teaching inclusive sports and leisure activities. Special care will be given to ensuring an understanding of how to adapt rules, environments and material to facilitate the active participation of all children in the same activities, at the same time, in the same environment.
Additionally, training for coaches and sports clubs will address individual sports and leisure activities such as cricket, football and volleyball, and the use of adaptive equipment, rules and environments, as well as focusing on games for younger children, with various educational messages. Relationship-building will be initiated through sports events involving young people and children from different ethnic, religious, linguistic, caste, social and economic backgrounds.
- Help local NGOs develop inclusive sports services;
- Equip sports and community stakeholders with tools to implement inclusive sports and leisure activities for children and young people with and without disabilities, and demonstrate social inclusion to local authorities;
- Train teachers and coaches to run inclusive sports initiatives;
- Strengthen collaboration and trust between divided groups through inclusive sports and leisure initiatives promoting social cohesion and reconciliation so that all Sri Lankans can live together in peace.
- 700 boys and girls, including 200 disabled children, participating in this programme
- 2,000 young people, including 500 disabled youngsters, participating in this programme
- 40 teachers and coaches trained to provide inclusive sport and promote social cohesion and inclusion through sport