The America soccer Cup special

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The Copa América de Fútbol especial, 2nd edition of a competition of people with intellectual disabilities, Chile

From HandiCap sur le Monde the Sep 16, 2013

During his world tour of inclusion, disability on the world discovered the cup of America Soccer Special initiative, organized by the argentine association Granka Andar and the Chilean organization ADAES for its second edition in spring 2013. Returns on a positive experience bringing changes in the look on intellectual disability:

1. Background: Disability on the world to explore initiatives in Latin America

Disability on the world is an association law 1901, whose head office is located in Laval (53). Our association wants to promote actions for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in employment and through sport. To do this, we conducted from September 2012 to July 2013, our first major project: a tour of the world of good practice during which we traveled 11 countries, meet the actors of disability to help, share, collaborate around inclusive projects.
Organization of inclusive sports days where teams are made up of young people with and without disabilities, events for the employment of people with disabilities, development strategies of the assisted structures, creation of an international network… So many actions to contribute to the change of look at the difference!
In our passage in Argentina, we are involved in the Organization of the 2nd edition of the Copa América of futbol especial, organized by the Granja Andar association. This association located in Moreno, 50 km from Buenos Aires, develops numerous projects for youth and adults with mental disabilities: creation of a bakery that feeds a hundred local schools, catering, day centre, adapted football league present in the Argentina and duplicated in other countries in South America, initiatives abound!

2. The objectives of the America soccer Cup special: trade first and foremost

This international event organised by Granja Andar entered the South American culture that has a passion for football. Everything has been thought for this Copa is not just a gathering of people with disabilities any. Ceremony opening, official speeches, anthems of each country before games, communication on an Internet site dedicated, on social networks, cultural outings to Santiago of Chile… The Organization of the tournament goes beyond the simple sporting logic.
It comes to exchanges between young people and football serves as a pretext to open up to new horizons, meet new people, new cultures, enhance performance and emphasize the skills of each and its difficulties.
The public, attend meetings, encouraged his team, his ‘favourite ‘… player Comments do not stigmatize an attitude, behaviour of disabled. The difficulty to organize such an event is (too) often in its funding. This was also the case for the Copa but by dint of contacts and resourcefulness, the funds necessary for the Organization of it were reunited in time. The support of important partners, such as a famous brand of sportswear to the three bands, be emphasized.

3. The implementation, the conduct

The Copa was therefore held from 24 to 29 March 2013 in Santiago of Chile and its environs. Delegations of Argentina, the Chile, Colombia and the Peru were present and clashed in a friendly atmosphere. Intellectual deficient players made noticed for their abilities of footballers, their attitude of competitors and not their disability. To achieve this event, a team of 5 professionals working throughout the year together in Granja Andar. They develop many sports projects which include the Copa.

Need to register teams, establish the regulation, provide material, transport, find partners, provide reception of officials, anticipate issues of housing, feeding, hydration… An organization Titanic so that the event runs smoothly. At the Copa, it is not less than 30 volunteers who swell the ranks of the organization. Planning of the meetings is important. Which teams met this day, at what time, match officials will be present, what municipality welcomes the meeting…? Once the tournament finished, place the presentation of trophies, the closing speech and the feast, important element of the Copa.

4. The means

In human terms: a team of 5 responsible (Coordinator, Logistics Manager, responsible for sports, responsible for equipment, responsible for accreditation), assisted by about 30 volunteers, coaches and attendants of each delegation, bus drivers… Young footballers have followed regular training to be ready for the event, supervised by qualified coaches.

On the financial plan: Granja Andar, in charge of the main organization, mobilized the main sponsors while ADAES, the Chilean organization, which hosted this 2nd edition has been able to meet the technical conditions and material required. Other delegations had to organize themselves to arranging their trip and to finance it until the Chile.

On technical and material: Importance of travel documents of every young person (necessary when parental permission, passports with visa), have several lots available for the event with locker rooms, free access to the public, registration of participants, the guests… a former rectory could be commandeered to accommodate all young people and every dinner was held in this place.

5. Evaluation, changes

Through this Copa, the objective was to allow the meeting between young people from different backgrounds to share its culture, to show to the public that these young people have skills and develop. In this, all these goals has been made even if the event would be able to/of bring more spectators.

The satisfaction of this second edition remains, without a doubt, the presence of Chilean students meetings. Their encouragement, their songs during hymns and their willingness to be taken photo with these young champions we show that the change of look is possible and allowed by this type of event including.

This second edition is a success but many points can be improved for the third edition:
-Open the Copa in new teams: collaboration with the Brazil, the Uruguay and the Paraguay (present in 2011), and, why not, bring a delegation of France invited by HandiCap on the world.
-Communicate more autour of this event so that a wider audience attends meetings and that the event is even more relayed by the press.

This event can quite be duplicated elsewhere and must continue to grow for as no more teams participating.

This type of action is possible unless you believe in its virtues. A great profusion of energy, an important organisation and a team of organizers and volunteers welded are indispensable to make type of event a real success so the look on disability can evolve in the right direction.

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