At the beginning of September 2020, Local Democracy Agency Tunisia coordinated a two-week training on psychomotor activities as part of the project Ricomincio Da Te, i.e. “I Start With You” in Italian. Sponsored by the Italian Agency for Cooperative Development and carried out in partnership with COPE Italy, Cope Tunisia, and care centers for people with disabilities, this 3-year project aims to consolidate the rights of people with disabilities in Tunisia and help them access services as well as create a culture of inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance.
The trainers were Cirque de Soleil experts Tommaso Negri and Leonardo Varriale, while the participants to the training were mostly professionals who work in specialized care centres, students, and workers from the sport and education fields, who belonged to different age groups (from 20 to 50 years old) and had different physical abilities (including football and basketball national team players; people with disabilities who were champions in javelin, shot put, or discus throw; and normal people who don’t usually exercise…).
Over the course of the two weeks, the learning atmosphere was dominated by joy, fun, interaction, participation, cooperation, and inclusion, and the participants were extremely eager to learn the new movements and psychomotor activities, how to adapt them and implement them to different contexts and people. Indeed, the occasion constituted an extraordinary and fortunate discovery and a delightful learning experience for all, as the adaptation from the circus offered innovative approaches to teaching that cherish diversity and encourage openness to change according to the needs and abilities of the learners, while also aiming to engage, spread joy, increase self-confidence, and value participation over competition.
Ricomincio da te: a project to consolidate the rights of people with disabilities in Tunisia
Though the start of the training was filled with uncertainty due to the unexpected difficulties imposed by the second wave of Covid-19, besides, its success was ensured by the unwavering devotion of the LDA team, its partners, the trainers, and the participants: due to travel restrictions, in fact, the trainers had to lead all activities online, which was clearly exceptional as these were based on sports and body movements that normally require the physical presence of the trainer to ensure the safety of participants and their precise application of the techniques and instructions. This was however overcome by strong team work, and by the presence of helpful and energetic sportspeople among the participants who voluntarily co-facilitated the training and ensured that participants follow the instructions.
All in all, the project offered a golden opportunity to delve even deeper into the local Tunisian community and explore people’s needs and aspirations, just like LDA Tunisia aspires to do at the core of its scope of intervention. It was also a precious chance to collaborate with dedicated centres and energetic participants who will now be a future asset for the organization, as most of them are expected to take part in future events and activities, too, and contribute to the LDA’s efforts to create a powerful and authentic platform of communication, inclusion and civic engagement.
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