Young advocates in Beijing

The Young Advocates
The Young Advocates

Two youth council members from Burngreave went on a life-changing trip to Beijing in September. They joined a global conference of 100 disabled and able-bodied young people from 20 countries, plus 100 youngsters from China, all aged between 18 and 25 years old. The five day seminar at the 2008 Paralympic Games was to help promote disability sport.

Story by Uzma Bibi and Naurin Fatima (Youth Council) Streetworx Project

After a long 24 hours of travelling it felt so good to finally arrive in China to be greeted by our Chinese counterparts of the Young Advocates Programme (YAP). After a day of shopping and bonding between delegates, the workshops began with the “100 words workshop” which was all about improving our level of confidence whilst communicating in front of a large crowd. We were given vocal exercises on how to project our voice clearly and adequately whilst making presentations.

Getting to know people

During the week we were paired with people from different walks of life which gave us an amazing opportunity to get to know people from different parts of the world. The mix of able-bodied and people with disabilities gave us the chance to get to know people with physical disabilities. In our group a Chinese Young Advocate astounded us by playing the piano with his feet. He told us that whatever we could do with our hands he does with his feet.

After hearing this it made us look at people with disabilities in a completely different light and we realised how unintentionally our behaviour could be portrayed as patronising.

At the end of the workshops all the various groups performed and our workshop performed a drama which includes half the members acting in a play and the other half playing musical instruments. Other performances included ballet, a mini-Paralympics and a digital photography slideshow.

Strength and ability

The highlight of the visit was the Paralympics opening ceremony and seeing disabled athletes from all over the world perform. The sheer strength and ability of all the athletes highlighted the main theme of these workshops that regardless of disabilities everyone is equal.

Throughout the week speeches by those affected by physical disabilities showed how they make the best use of their abilities and use their energy in a positive way. A theatre performance by actors with disabilities involved amazing elements of dance, singing and comedy. Finally, during a visit to the British Embassy Sir Sebastian Coe gave us ideas for promoting sport and disabilities on our return to the UK.

After a fantastic week of workshops it was sad to say goodbye but we will always remember the friends, knowledge and the experience we gained from our visit to China.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Jamie Marriott on 2008-12-01 12:08:23.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2008-12-01 14:56:51.

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