March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month, and CPISRA started the month by visiting India to spread awareness of Cerebral Palsy sport, and to research how the development of Cerebral Palsy sport and recreation can be supported.
Craig Carscadden, CPISRA’s Chief Executive, and Lauren Milstead, Development Manager, spent 4 days visiting different organisations in Kolkata and Bangalore, as well as meeting the with CPSAI (the Cerebral Palsy Sports Association of India) and the SACPSF (The South Asian Cerebral Palsy Sports Federation).
Friday 1st March
On the first day of the trip, CPSAI had arranged for Craig and Lauren to visit the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy in Kolkata, a fantastic organisation providing educational, respite, therapy and vocational services to children and adults with Cerebral Palsy. Craig and Lauren discussed the benefits of introducing sport and recreation, answered questions from parents and therapists, and heard first hand from CPSAI volunteers about what support they need to deliver their programmes. The students and staff of IICP demonstrated a boccia game which they had introduced to help develop motor skills. They had made their own balls and ramps, and it was easy to see that the children loved it!
Saturday 2nd March
Craig and Lauren were invited to the Spastics Society of Karnataka in Bangalore. Parents and staff of the centre had a very meaningful discussion with Lauren, Craig and the CPSAI representatives about how to introduce and develop sport programmes in their centre. This meeting provided valuable insight in to what is required by both CPSAI and CPISRA to develop Cerebral Palsy sports and recreation in India.
Sunday 3rd March
Craig and Lauren were invited to join a SACPSF committee meeting, where they were able to hear first hand about the issues faced in all the countries included in the organisation. It was great to hear about the motivation and enthusiasm of all countries, and again learn how CPISRA can support the development of CP sport in this region.
Monday 4th March
The final meeting of the trip was held at the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) in Bangalore, another fantastic facility offering educational, vocational and therapy services to people with disabilities. Lauren presented a powerpoint on CPISRA’s vision and programmes, and APD shared their expertise and desire to increase sport programmes in their centres. Many other sports organisations and NGOs were present, and a meaningful discussion was held.
This fact-finding trip was invaluable, and reinforced the need for CPISRA development work throughout the World. We have a lot of work to do following the trip, but it proved that the future of CP sport is very bright!