Driving inclusion and growth through Tennistavolo
Sport belongs to everyone, and together with the Federazione Italiana Tennistavolo (FITET) we have also reminded those who often feel excluded: girls and boys with disabilities. With the TennistavolOltre Plus project, the table tennis lessons held throughout Italy during school hours and within the structures of sports clubs affiliated to the federation have highlighted the skills of these students.
An instrument of unity
We all derive psycho-physical benefits from physical activity, but for these kids sport is even more important as it is one of the most powerful drivers of inclusion.
"Often, children with disabilities find it difficult to integrate into schools, but through this physical activity integration occurs spontaneously, almost miraculously": these are the words of Giovanni Caramazza, Coordinator of Physical and Sports Education in Sicily, the Region that hosted the final event of this edition of the project, held on May 5 at the Colozza-Bonfiglio Institute in Palermo.
“Today there was no difference between the various children participating in the project, disabled or not. This is because they worked together ", commented the Vice-President of the Comitato Italiano Paralimpico Sicilia (CIP) Roberta Cascio, underlining how important it is to bring young people closer to sport since childhood, as it will be useful for better social growth over the years and to understand the importance of doing things together:
“This project is very important because it gives all school children, able-bodied and otherwise, the opportunity to do sports together. Sport is the only means that gives everyone the opportunity to do something together. We often talk about a means of inclusion, I would speak of a means that unites and makes diversity disappear".
Roberta Cascio, Vice-President of the Comitato Italiano Paralimpico Sicilia (CIP).
Sport in schools
Being together is one of the first things you learn in school. And since the Moro Law of 1958, sport cannot be missing in any educational institution. "Together with all the subjects and disciplines it is a guarantee of finding the aptitude and talent that reside in the students and that will allow them to find their own way" says Valeria Catalano, Head of the Colozza-Bonfiglio Institute, adding that sport is life as it is capable of breaking down any difference, generating self-esteem, motivation, self-confidence and concentration and helping any child to overcome difficulties.
“Many fragile children stop believing in themselves, they withdraw and are afraid to try. Through these activities they are no longer afraid, they try and above all this is a stimulus to face the challenges that one day life will put before them”.
Valeria Catalano, Headmaster of the Comprehensive Colozza-Bonfiglio Institute.
With the TennistavolOltre Plus project, all the collaborators and the participants family members were able to notice the immediate effect of this sport on boys and girls. The head teacher herself testified that this sport more than others is effective in children with special educational needs: "they need to never feel a step backwards, but to understand that they must try to carry out a new activity and at the same time not to be afraid of failing, and to do it together with others with the support, esteem and motivation that are necessary for their psychosocial development and well-being ”.
"Not disabled but specially able" are the words that Angelica Carnelos, our Secretary General, uses to describe the participants in this project who, through the sport of table tennis, have learned not only the rules of a game, but the importance of loyalty and being together. Values that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
"Through these projects, Enel Cuore Onlus seeks to give its message and continue to build a community with the values of social sustainability and inclusion."
Angelica Carnelos, Secretary General of Enel Cuore Onlus.