The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) plans to show the next generation of Para sport fans that impossible is just a word through a pioneering new education project – I’m Possible.
Created by the IPC’s development arm the Agitos Foundation, I’m Possible is a toolkit of resources designed to engage young people between the ages of 6-12 years in the Paralympic Movement.
On Tuesday (21 February) in Tokyo, the Japanese version was launched by IPC President Sir Philip Craven and project partners Mr. Mitsunori Torihara, Chairperson of the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC) and Mr. Yasushi Yamawaki, Chairperson of the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre (NFPSC). The global launch will be held later in 2017.
Sir Philip said: “When it comes to the Paralympic Movement, I truly believe in reverse education. Educating youngsters about the outstanding abilities of Para athletes and the values they stand for will see them return home to educate their parents and grandparents about the Paralympic Movement. Normally, it’s the other way round with adults passing on their knowledge to youngsters, but that’s the joy of the Paralympic Movement and reverse education. Youngsters become the teachers.
“I am certain that this programme will not just build excitement for the upcoming Paralympic Games but act as a catalyst to social inclusion with the next generation realising that everything in this world is possible.”
The NFPSC and the JPC in collaboration with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will support the roll-out of I’m Possible in Japan by using it to raise awareness of the Paralympic Movement. The NFPSC will also train people within Para sport organisations across Asia over the next four years, as the region builds towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Mr. Yamawaki said: “The IPC, JPC, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese government and all stakeholders will show a strong commitment to the Paralympic Movement.
“Through the promotion of I’m Possible in Japan with the aim of the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, we will create a more inclusive society, where everyone can enjoy a quality of life with dream and hopes.”
I’m Possible’s name is inspired by an iconic moment from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
During the Closing Ceremony, the word ‘impossible’ appeared floating from the roof the stadium. A wheelchair user then appeared, faced with the challenge of climbing a 15m long rope to reach the top of the lettering.
When he got there he became a flying apostrophe between the letter ‘I’ and ‘m’ in ‘Impossible’ showing the world people can achieve anything.
For the launch I’m Possible materials were translated to Japanese and adapted to suit the local culture. It will be become part of the education programme of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to spread the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality across the country.
In addition to the theme of the values, the content also features Para sport and the inspirational achievements of Para athletes to showcase ability. There are 15 units in total with lesson plans for young people aged between 6-8 years and 9-12 years.
Once the worldwide launch takes place, all the materials will be available in different languages including English, Japanese, French, Spanish and Armenian. Additional language versions will be created as different National Paralympic Committees commit to implementing the toolkit.
It is planned that I’m Possible will be used by institutions, schools and Organising Committees around the world to teach the next generation about Para sport and the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.