THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organizes Knowledge Co-Creation Programs (KCCP training) in Japan, which is a form of technical cooperation. The following profile is that of a participant of KCCP training. (Reverse)
My name is Vienessia Herman, and I am currently a teacher at the Dunnottar School and Vocational Centre in Saint Lucia. I attended a training program in Japan during 2018 entitled “Improving Social Participation for Persons with Disabilities through Sports”.
In Saint Lucia, there is a need to develop appropriate opportunities for people with disabilities throughout their life course. Currently, Saint Lucia lacks the provision of access for people with disabilities to quality physical activity and sporting opportunities. Enough emphasis is not placed on persons with disabilities to create a Holistic wellbeing through sports.
In our society, persons with disabilities face certain experiences and restrictions, which evoke negative perceptions and discrimination. As a result of the stigma attached to persons with disabilities, our community tends to exclude them from education, employment opportunities and community life which deprives them of equal opportunities. However, sports can assist to eliminate the stigma and discrimination. Maintaining a special needs sports program can reconstruct society’s attitude about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills. This would reduce the tendency to see the disability instead of the individual.
I am of the opinion that a disability is not a personal or medical problem, but is a social problem where the onus is on society to adapt to the needs of the person with a disability. People with disabilities have the right to be involved in all sports and at all levels, and sport should be an integral element in the life of every person with a disability, regardless of gender, age, or social background.
At a minimum, people with disabilities should have the opportunity to engage in enough sporting activities to maintain good health, as sports can be an effective tool for social inclusion and involvement in sport has an important role to play in overcoming the barriers to achieving equity for people with a disability. Coordinated and concerted efforts are essential in addressing the wide and complex range of barriers associated with sport and people with a disability.
Throughout the training I received in Japan through the JICA Saint Lucia Office, there was great personal achievement, meaning my mind is more opened to teaching persons with disabilities in sports. I am now able to improve sports to incorporate persons with disabilities; therefore, I can now cater for different disabilities at any level.