Sochi embraces the disabled

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Sochi 2014 has hosted a number of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) experts to educate Sochi 2014 volunteers on the best practices in communicating, interacting and supporting people with a disability, essentially given the necessity to help change attitudes in Russia to achieve the goal of fully integrating people with a disability into society.

The educational programme is designed to ensure the Sochi 2014 volunteers make both Paralympic athletes and visitors feel truly welcome when attending the Games. The program was attended by the people who will be training the Sochi 2014 volunteers at the 26 dedicated volunteer centers across Russia. To enhance the lives of people with a disability, a large–scale program is being implemented in Sochi which will create a barrier–free environment of approximately two thousand buildings by 2014. While over five hundred buildings in Sochi have been made accessible for people with a disability, changing attitudes in society is the key to creating a truly barrier free environment in Sochi and throughout Russia. A total of 50 volunteer training instructors, including students and teachers from the Sochi 2014 Volunteer Centers, have traveled to Sochi to participate in the educational program. They have undergone a two–day course of lessons run by experts representing the IPC and the IPC Academy. The instructors were all experts in their field: the IPC's Head of Knowledge Management, Apostolos Rigas; the IPC accessibility expert, Mark Todd; the IPC Academy Director, Chris Solly and the IPC Academy of Sports Director of Brand and International Federations Relations, Michael Cary. They were supported by International Rugby Board (IRB) trainers Steve Griffiths and Mark Harrington. The educational course was based on proven trainers' educational methodology and used specific examples to deliver the most effective training. Participants had the opportunity to independently test different methods of the appropriate interaction with people with a disability. The main recruitment criterion for the Paralympic Games volunteer trainers was a detailed understanding of the Paralympic theme and the willingness to continue their work after the Games. This continuity and contribution to the Volunteer Movement will become a key part of the Games Legacy.

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