Sport tournament in Kramatorsk shows inclusion in action

Dec 12, 2017

Photo credit: UNDP in Ukraine / Artem Getman

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair,” famously said Nelson Mandela. Recent volleyball tournament in Kramatorsk is living proof to this.

The tournament was organized in November in Kramatorsk school and brought together five mixed teams. All teams train regularly; however, none of them has a coach. Nonetheless, the teams showed a good game. “I am really impressed by the quality of this tournament,” says Zuzana Zalanova, UNV programme officer, who attended the event. “We could also see a great team work here.”

The idea to organize this tournament came from the discussions at the UNDP-organized workshops on social inclusion “Inclusive Friendly” held in April in six cities of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, including Kramatorsk, Kostiantynivka, Bakhmut, Severodonetsk, Svatovo and Kreminna. The workshops were organized together with four local NGOs “Society Initiatives Institute”, “Pravo na shchastya”, “Vidchuy”, “Bachyty sertsem”. During six-day workshops, representatives of civil society, local administration and youth learnt how to communicate and engage people with disabilities in their activities. On the last day of the workshop, the participants brainstormed project ideas for promoting inclusivity in their communities. One of the incentives put forward by a group of workshop participants who have hearing impairments resulted in a sport event “Volleyball for all” supported by UNDP in Ukraine and UN Volunteers.

The team that took the first place is Alians group. They are training three times a week. “It’s a cool tournament, we really enjoyed it. It would be great to have it every year,” says Yevheniy Horishnyi from Alians team.

“We could also have tournaments in football, table tennis or basketball,” adds Konstantin Galan, who is deaf. “It was great, it was a new experience for us. All participants received awards which was nice. We have even started understanding a bit what the team of people with hearing impairments is saying in sign language,” add Maksym Anisimov and Volodymyr Korchach from Afterwork team that got the fourth place.

“The aim of the event was to promote healthy life style and, more importantly, to bring together people with and without disabilities showing the importance of inclusivity. The message we wanted to deliver through “Volleyball for all” was about the necessity to eliminate social exclusion and promote a sense of belonging,” explains Marketa Pavlikova, UN Volunteer in Youth Participation. 

“It doesn’t matter whether you can or cannot hear, whether you are local or an IDP. You could just come here and enjoy the game,” adds Alyona Kucheruk, a volleyball fan.

Another sport tournament was organized in Kramatorsk this December with 8 teams participating.

The event was jointly organized by UNDP in Ukraine under the UNDP project „Restoration of Governance and Reconciliation in Crisis-Affected Communities of Ukraine” funded by the government of Switzerland and Sweden.

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