Monday, 5 May 2014

Sport and Music

Welcome once again to our blog!

Despite a complete lack of power due to one of the largest storms we’ve ever witnessed, we have had a busy week working on the sports side of the placement.

This is one of the most important aspects of the Resource Centre’s work and will feature heavily throughout our next two months here. We believe that para-sports is an effective way of integrating people with disabilities into the wider communities, and to this end we are trying to encourage more people with disabilities to participate in para sports.

The main para-sports which are played in Tamale are Goal Ball, Athletics, Wheelchair Basketball and Football for people who have hearing, visual or physical impairments. One of the largest problems that all these teams have is lack of funding and equipment. Much of the equipment is old, broken and unsuitable for use. Unfortunately, the costs of upgrading the equipment are very high, and as such we are applying for large grants from various organisations. These grants are very important, not only for those currently playing the various para-sports but also those in whom we want to encourage participation. 

Jack on the offence
There is also a lack of dedicated space for these sports- for instance, Goal Ball is played on a basketball court in the Old Stadium which is very hard, cracked and uneven. In order to try and improve the situation which the various para-sports face, we met with a senior member of staff at the new Tamale Stadium in order to secure more dedicated spaces for the various para-sports in Tamale. We have also looked to build a basketball court on the Resource Centre’s land which would be used by wheelchair basketball teams.

On Thursday, we were able to visit the Goal Ball team whilst they practised at the Old Stadium. Whilst we were there, Saani (who coaches the team) taught us how to play. Despite nailing the absolute basics, we were struck by the difficulty of the sport and we left feeling very impressed by those in the Goal Ball team. However, as mentioned above, the game was played on an old basketball court using old and broken equipment, and if we are to promote participation in the sport, it is necessary to improve the equipment and facilities used by the team.

Prince on the guitar
On Friday, we were invited to watch Saani’s brother Prince play with his band, the Savannah Echoes. Including 3 blind musicians, they play a mixture of reggae and high-life, and some of Prince’s own compositions in Dagbani (the local language). The band were incredibly talented, and the fact that three of the band members were blind made it much more impressive. In fact, they are so good that they have even toured the USA! As a guitarist myself, I was incredibly impressed with the skill and confidence of Prince's guitar playing.

This week also saw the finishing touches being put on the Sensitisation Programme, and we are now able to contact local schools in order to trial the presentation and start educating schools and communities about disability issues.

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