IMAGE (Indian Mixed Ability Group Events) is a program that started in 2004 with funding and support from the Laureus ‘Sport for Good Foundation’.
IMAGE aims to set up after-school clubs in various parts of the country where both able-bodied and disabled children come together to compete with each other in cricket, table tennis, Kabaddi, badminton, basketball, volleyball, football and tug-of-war, or other forms of sport.
The initial IMAGE program has been successfully running for over a year, with over two hundred 8-12 year olds enrolled from SKSN a school for physically challenged children and able bodied schools in the surrounding area.
'After this sports event I feel proud of myself because I never took part in any such event before. Many people used to pity me before. They never thought that I was able to do something good and different. This is a good opportunity given to me by my school. This is a good beginning, which will give us an identity. We will tell the world that physically disabled people are not worthless. We can face hardships and still be happy. I will tell the world what different problems we face and what we think about the normal world.'Why IMAGE?
IMAGE's simple aim is to redefine ability through sport.
Sport has a way of teaming up people and getting them to work together for the benefit of the whole team. Winning or succeeding is a key element of all societies, and nowhere is this more evident than in sports.
Therefore sport, by its very nature, draws people together to achieve a common goal, and then by creating this common goal, integration occurs in a passive, non-confrontational manner. The social interaction that must occur means that understanding and tolerance will quickly follow.
Able bodied student from a local school, Priyanka -
I always thought that disabled people had dirty clothes, dirty bodies because I had only seen them as beggars. This is the first time that I have seen and spoken with disabled persons from a close distance. I was amazed to see the confidence on their faces and their faces were shining. Their eyes were speaking and telling me that they were not weaker than normal children. They seemed to be full of energy.
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