New Sport and Leisure Opportunities for Children in Blind Schools

Blind children in are brave in sports - despite their visual impairment

A great sport event of the disabled took place in London in 2012: the PARALYMIC GAMES, which again let millions of people in the whole world brim over with enthusiasm. The Korean Sports Association of the Disabled (KASD) has worked for the participation of disabled Koreans in the Paralympics for several years, and then it happened for the first time: A physically impaired North Korean took part in the Games!

Sport enhances fitness and mobility, it brings enjoying physical exercise and social get-togethers, it can build up self-confidence and encourage social competence. The so-called rehabilitation sport is an important pillar of the (re)integration of blind children into the Korean society.

The Democratic People’s Republic’s Law on the Persons of the Disabled (Article 25) says as follows:

The sports guiding body and institutions concerned shall select and popularize the kinds of sports suitable to the health of the person with disability. The sports activities shall be organized to help the person with disability increase his/her ability of independent activity."

Based on the experience of years of cooperation between TOGETHER-Hamhung and the KFPD, this project was worked out and implemented for all three blind schools in the DPRK: Taedong, Hamhung and Bongchon blind school. This project should promote barrier-free leisure activities of blind students and widen the sport and leisure opportunities for blind children at all 3 blind schools.

Trusting our goals and the impact of sports for the promotion of the personal development of blind children, the ambassador of the German Embassy to the DPRK, Mr. Gerhard Thiedemann, personally supported this project. The project should contribute to build up their self-confidence and self-belief and pass on values such as respect and tolerance for disabled people.

Joint sports activities of disabled and non-disabled children helped to reduce fear of contact and prejudices which non-disabled children usually have. In this way non-disabled children could acquire social skills in favour of the inclusion of blind people. Teachers of blind schools realized that joint sports activities by teaming up with non-disabled children contributes to the development of the blind student.

These activities helped blind children to challenge the physical limits they have experienced as keeping them separated from the society. Not only their muscles could grow, but also their self-confidence when interacting with students from the local regular schools and approaching them as their fellow human beings.

Although it was proven that sport is a good method for the physical and psychological development and the integration of the blind, the DPRK were still lacking qualified trainers for the disabled sports.Therefore the KFPD and TOGETHER-Hamhung tried to overcome this lack of qualified personnel by training sport teachers as coaches for disabled sports.

TOGETHER-Hamhung and the KFPD wanted to go on with sports projects, since sport is, as we know, not only a way of physical improvement, but also a good opportunity to meet new people, especially young people with and without disabilities. TOGETHER-Hamhung and KFPD believed that due to those sport projects blind people would get more attention by the Korean society, which would contribute to the foundation of a Korean Blind Association.

This project with synergy effects succeeded thanks to active support of our partners:

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