An open training session for children with disabilities conducted by the first judo world champion in the history of Ukraine, Georgii Zantaraia took place in Kyiv. The training officially gave a start to the international charity organization Parimatch Foundation’s Yes, I can! complex program in Kyiv. The ideology of the project is to involve children with special educational needs (children with disabilities) in sports. The co-organizer of the event and the partner of the program was Georgii Zantaraia’s school.
Georgii opened his school in Kyiv in 2020. 300 children visited this school before the full-scale invasion started. Currently, about 150 athletes train here. Champion and his team began to work with children with disabilities during the war. Until February 2022, Georgii conducted just several training for children with disabilities. During the full-scale invasion, he decided to create a new group for athletes with special needs to systematically practice judo and physical education.
Denys Tolkach, Anatoliy Laskuta, and Olga Starubinska work as coaches for Georgii Zantaraia’s school. Friends and volunteers also help to deal with children with disabilities.
40 children with disabilities will attend training three times a week as a part of Yes, I can! program. As a result of the program, children are involved in motor physical activity. The energy is released, and the level of stress and apathy decreases due to systematic training. Children and their parents met new people as well. To see their children smiling, active, and involved in activities is additional support for parents. And children get an opportunity to socialize, to be involved in everyday processes, and most importantly, to get positive sports results.
— Sport has a positive effect on the physical and psycho-emotional state. Thanks to the classes athletes can find new friends. Children with disabilities have been visiting the school for six months. And I’m glad that our training continues. I am grateful to Yes, I can! program and the Parimatch Foundation for their support, – said Georgii.
The Parimatch Foundation’s support covers the salaries of coaches and allows them to purchase sports equipment for children who go into sports.
Yes, I can! program is aimed at encouraging children to play sports and creating all the necessary conditions for providing equal access to sports to everyone. For three consecutive years, the program has been implemented in many regions of Ukraine. There were 15 regions the program acted in by February 2022. More than 300 children with disabilities attended football, floorball, cheerleading, judo, Greco-Roman wrestling, etc. groups. After the full-scale invasion started, the Foundation began actively re-establishing programs in regions where children would be able to play sports. Today, the Yes, I can! the program acts in the Kirovohrad, Kyiv, and Volyn regions, and will be launched in Poltava Oblast soon.
— We are glad to open another group for children with mental disabilities in Kyiv together with Georgii Zantaraia’s school. Yes, I can! program is very important for us as the Foundation’s goal is to make sports inclusive and accessible to every child, regardless of social circumstances or physical characteristics. Currently, we are actively looking for coaches and organizations that are ready to support children, develop their potential and promote the development of sports in Ukraine. We are very pleased to become Georgii Zantaraia’s school partners. Thus, together, we provide more opportunities for children with disabilities to play sports, – Parimatch Foundation’s Chief operating officer Angela Fokina said about the launch of the new group.
In addition to unforgettable emotions, the future champions received gifts from the Foundation after the training and an autograph from the champion. They finished the class with a joint photo saying «Yes, I can!».
Parimatch Foundation is an international charitable organization founded in 2019. The Foundation’s activities are aimed at providing children with equal access to education and sports regardless of their physical characteristics, social status, and other barriers. The main lines of work are assistance and support in the field of sports and education. Parimatch Foundation has been implementing 6 comprehensive programs: «Yes, I can», «Sports mentor», «New physical education», «Boost4Best», «Help for Ukraine» and «Mental Health».