IBSA President inaugurates ‘Ethiopia Project’
Date: November 23, 2022
The IBSA President, Sandro Di Girolamo, invited by the FISPIC, the Italian Federation of Paralympic Sports for the Visually Impaired and Blind, in Ethiopia, has launched the project “Ethiopian Sport Initiative for Blinds and Visually Impaired,” which will be implemented in Soddo, in the south of Ethiopia. IBSA President Sandro Di Girolamo visited the facility, an institute for the blind attended by about 200 children, which from January 7 to 16 will host a real camp with the presence of federal coaches of Football, Torball, Goalball, and Showdown.
The main goal of the project is to guarantee support for blind and visually impaired young people in Ethiopia, through the planning and development of dedicated sports activities, which are currently not present in Ethiopia. In particular, the first phase of the project will consist of the Sports Education Camp, with introductory training and sports promotion courses for players, coaches, and referees.
At present, Ethiopian children do not participate in any physical education programme and do not even know that there are specific sports disciplines for the blind and visually impaired. All this despite the fact that the country has one of the highest rates of blindness and low vision in the world, especially among children. Together with the Union of the Blind of Ethiopia, Fispic, the main partner of the project with IPO aps, will provide the technical material, the necessary equipment to play sports and will be the main reference for training, coaching, and refereeing thanks to the presence in the Camp of federal technicians of the various sports disciplines.
“I am delighted to be able to inaugurate this project, which is unique in the world in terms of sport,” explains IBSA President Sandro Di Girolamo, “Thanks to FISPIC and the collaboration with the IPO association, we will be able to give many children a smile and, above all, give them the chance to play sport. Unfortunately, up until now Ethiopia had never organised sports activities for the blind, but now, thanks to the collaboration of the Union of the Blind of Ethiopia and the local institutions that have welcomed our proposals with great enthusiasm, the dream will finally become reality, and IBSA is very happy to be able to promote these projects that will give these athletes the opportunity to participate in our competitions in the future.
Di Girolamo continued his trip to South Africa, where another wonderful initiative is being studied. “We have already initiated contacts with the local Paralympic Committee, the South African Federation of Sports for the Blind, and local institutions to promote sports disciplines. We also visited two institutions for the blind in Cape Town, the Athlone School and the Worcester School. I thank Professor Joubert for his interest and hospitality, the Faculty of Education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the University of Stellenbosch”.