S.M.I.L.E. project started with online meeting

People with intellectual disabilities and/or mental health challenges are still subject of wide discrimination and impossibility to be properly included in the society. Sport is one of the most powerful tools that can support the inclusion process and in a gentle way present an opportunity for the mentioned target group to feel accepted and part of a group. Sport, Motivation, Inclusion, Leadership, Engagement #SMILE project aims to analyse the link between sport and inclusion in an innovative and different way – by ensuring international participation in sport activities of persons with intellectual disability and/or mental health challenges. On 24th of June a kick off meeting has been held in online environment which gathered the partners and allowed them to review and plan all project actions together.

SMILE project will contribute to all of the three main themes as the activities we are planning with the current proposal will add extensive value to the feeling of persons with intellectual disabilities that EU rights are their rights as well. For example, our right as European citizens of moving and residing freely that is reflected in the commitment of the EU “to ensure that persons with disabilities have a real right to freedom of movement as others.” will be applied on practice through the planned international SMILE sport event that aims to ensure the feeling of moving and residing freely in the participants with disabilities.

• Ensure quality sport mobility of persons with intellectual disability;
• Ensuring new instruments and tools for sport experts (trainers, coaches, social workers, ect) to use sport as a tool for inclusion, socialization and empowerment of persons with disabilities;
• Create #SMILE edition that will use as a practical guide on which methods and practices can be applied in sport environment when working with persons with disabilities /Open Educational Recourse/;
• Increased capacity in the participating organizations that will lead to wider possibility to deliver quality products to the target groups they work on daily basis;
• Raise awareness on the added value of sport and physical activities in relation to the personal, professional and social development of individuals through all planned project activities (with clear accent on persons with disabilities);
• Raise awareness on the importance of health-enhancing effects of physical activity through all planned project activities;
• Disseminate the accumulated knowledge and expertise of the partnership, its newly developed tools and best practices to inspire and promote further collaborations and synergies on the related topics.

The direct target group of the #SMILE project is persons with intellectual disabilities, residing in Bulgaria and Croatia through the project consortium of Bulgarian Sports Development Association and Rijeka Sport Association for Persons with Disabilities. Part of the group that is planned to be involved in the project activities is living in a community services institutions in both countries, the other part is under the supervision of either assistants or their parents/relatives. The final beneficiaries of the project are both partner organizations that will be empowered to further transmit the knowhow on inclusion, and as well – the persons facing multiple challenges in their lives that will experience an amazing journey through sport in the #SMILE framework that will allow them to feel integral part of the big European family.

• Good practices toolkit edition #SMILE;
• Empowered sport experts and organizations that will continue utilizing the tools that #SMILE will develop in the project framework and onwards;
• Delivered international sport event #SMILE that will gather persons with intellectual disabilities from Bulgaria and Croatia after set of national trainings sessions in each country.

• Discover the power of sport as an inclusion mechanism through personal experience;
• Co-create together with the partners experts a good practices tool-kit of Inclusion through sport for persons with intellectual disability and/or mental health challenges;
• Take part in an international sport event #SMILE;
• Implement local training sessions with the persons with intellectual disability and/or mental health challenges in order to ensure snowfall effect;
• Ensure good practices transfer between project partners.

#SMILE project is totally in line with the horizontal objectives, pursued by the Erasmus+ Programme, that is co-funding the present initiative, aiming to ensure inclusion and diversity in all fields of education, training, youth and sport as the project idea itself is a representation of the inclusion of a highly disadvantage group into international activities. The proposal is in line as well with the priority of encouraging participation in sport and physical activity as all the actions that SMILE will implement are focused on sustainable involvement of persons with intellectual disabilities in sport activities on local, national and international level.

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