Our Sports and recreation events are hosted twice a year (March and Aug/Sep).
These days function as an opportunity for schools and centres which specifically cater for children and individuals with disabilities to enjoy various sport and recreational activities. Activities such as sitting volley ball, blind futsal, boccia (a game similar to bowls specifically designed for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function such as cerebral palsy) and various recreational games such as fun relays are played during the course of the day. A lunch pack is given to each participant before they leave to go home. These days also serve as a means for us to get to know the individuals and communities we aim to serve in order to build a relationship with them and gain their trust, since sports days and camps for children with disabilities are rare within the South African communities.
The children have come from schools and centres surrounding Cape Town, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Langa or Nyanga. Many of the learners we work with come from disadvantaged backgrounds in addition to their disabilities. The participants who have attended our events have had a range of disabilities, including spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, amputations, cerebral palsy, visual impairments and legally blind. We also had a few participants who have intellectual disabilities. The majority of our volunteers are third year Sports Science or Kinderkinetics students from Stellenbosch University and volunteering at these events form part of their practical hours that are required to complete their degree.
Our events are free and thus we rely on donations to be able to host these events.
The Bizweni Centre say:
“We are so very grateful to the amazing team at Bridging Abilities for the incredible work they did with our children on Heritage Day. Our children loved their time! Thank you!”
Sports & Recreation News
Community Activity Groups
The groups started in 2015 as part of Candace Vermaak’s PhD to determine whether physical activity groups for people with a spinal cord injury is a sustainable project in communities where health and wellness is neglected. The research showed that, physical activity groups for people with disabilities is a sustainable project by involving and training volunteers from the community to assist in offering the program. Both the participants and the volunteers experience the benefits of physical activity and are therefore motivated to continue.
Since we started with the groups, the groups have increased in the number of participants as well as the number of volunteers that participate. The groups are represented by number of people with various abilities including people with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke as well as the elderly. The groups get together twice a week for an hour and half each. The sessions focus on various aspects such as cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and functional abilities that together assist the participants in completing activities of daily living with greater ease as well as community reintegration.
The groups do not only represent the physical dimension of wellness but also the social and psychological dimensions. We have observed psychological improvements such as improved self esteem, better self-perceptions and a more positive outlook on life. The participants have also seen how others in their community view them more positively. Socially the participants have met people with various abilities and offer one another unconditional support and encouragement.
Josef (A Group Member) says:
“I can do a lot more for myself since belonging to the group. I can now feed myself, push myself (in my chair)…I would like to learn to lift myself and transfer”