The SOL Foundation assists the project Sei Dabei to use sport as a key area on the way to an inclusive society. The project tries to engage as many ‘players’ as possible in a cross-sectorial attempt in helping to realize the potential of sport to advance the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities and special needs.
Problem to be tackled
The benefits of physical activity are universal for all, including those with disabilities and special needs. The active participation of persons with disabilities and special needs in sports and recreational activities promotes inclusion, optimises physical functioning or enhances overall well-being. Despite these benefits, especially children with disabilities and special needs are more restricted in their participation, have lower levels of fitness and have higher levels of obesity than their peers without disabilities.
The project is designed that no matter what the special need or disability, the participants can take part in and enjoy the benefits of sport in a people-centred approach. Sport in this case is a “social inclusion tool” that empowers and promotes the inclusion of marginalized groups.
Sei Dabei, under the motto “Sport creates space for inclusion”, has the vision to enable children and adolescents with and without special needs to participate in sports all year long, thereby reducing social barriers.
The unifying feature of the challenges outlined is their inherent complexity i.e. there is no one simple solution that fits all situations and contexts. These issues, that often small NGO’s operating in the field seek to address, are usually influenced by large, complex and interdependent systems, which involve many different players including governments, for-profit corporations and large foundations.
The project aims to overcome this traditional fragmentation by using an approach called Collective Impact. This model has emerged in recent years as a model the social sector can look toward to create change. According to Collective Impact Model, collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem.
The beneficiaries are children, adolescents and adults aged between 5 and 99 years; the project has a diversity policy and tries to have a 50% gender ratio.
The project idea can be seen as a challenge for an inclusive society as about 10% to 15% of the population of an industrialised country (OECD 2010, 2016) have a disability or chronic diseases.
Recent studies show that from a subjective point of view up to 20% experience limitations in their everyday life due to various impairments. The most common problems people face in this group are problems in their spare or leisure time. 21.2% stated that they had problems in participating in all forms of play, leisure and recreational activities, such as sports, visiting a museum or theatre, traveling or pursuing a hobby.
With the support from The SOL Foundation, SFBK gGmbH will be able to launch and implement their new initiative ‘Sei Dabei’, the active participation respectively inclusion of persons with disabilities in sports and recreational activities.
SFBK gGmbH – Sport, Freizeit, Bildung und Kultur – is a registered non-profit limited liability company in Austria.
Its vision is to establish various cultural, social and sports programmes for people with special needs. The main aim of these programmes is social inclusion. Although they aim to reduce barriers and increase participation, they are also concerned to address broader aspects of social inclusion to promote aspects of personal, social and community development.