About Inclusive sports Arche

Arche Nongr-Maasem is a community which is part of the wider charity ‘L’Arche International’. L’Arche International has over 146 communities in over 35 countries, and is currently celebrating 50 years of existence this year. There are 12 communities in the UK, and its UK head office is in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Our partner, Arche Nongr-Maasem is one of these communities within Burkina Faso. The main purpose of Arche Nongr-Maasem’s centre is to develop the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and to offer residential, day centre and outreach services. In the centre there are various activities that ICS volunteers can be involved in from vocational training, sports, market gardening, crafts and general centre enhancement/capacity building.

Why are we working with this partner?

Arche Nongr-Maasem is a community for people with intellectual disabilities within Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, providing facilities and resources to ensure that all their service users reach their full potential. 10% of the identified population in Burkina Faso have a disability. In Burkina Faso, people with disabilities face many difficulties in everyday life, not because of their impairments, but primarily from the conditions of living in one of the world’s poorest countries. Alongside many of the population, people with disabilities must deal with a lack of provision for social services and resources; there is a general inaccessibility to facilities, and people with disabilities often face discrimination and exclusion from society. There are programmes and NGOs to help but the government is poorly resourced and in particular, disability has been poorly served by the authorities.

As a result, parents/families of people with disabilities often cannot support the costs involved in the treatment, rehabilitation, support, education or training of their family members; as many obstacles in Burkina dangerously compromise their socioeconomic independence. People with intellectual disabilities are particularly at risk from this discrimination, stigmatisation & lack of support.

Volunteers have already proved, through the initial stages and set-up of this project, the benefit to the target group and the wider community of bringing into focus the situation faced by people with disabilities. The skills, energy and positive perceptions of a community of international and national volunteers working with people with disabilities cannot be underestimated in Burkina Faso.

What work has International Service done with Arche Nongr-Maasem before?

International Service has been working with Arche Nongr-Maasem for over 3 years and it has received ICS volunteers, including volunteers with disabilities previously on an ICS disability pilot project. However, these volunteers have often worked on a short-term basis. Their work primarily focused upon encouraging sports inclusion, but they have also worked on income generating activities for the service users. International Service has decided to expand these connections and establish a formal long-term partnership, with dedicated ICS volunteers based at the centre.

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