The Parimatch Foundation continues to share information about the coaches of the Foundation’s programs, which the team is certainly proud of. Despite martial law in the country, from the first days of the war the coaches selflessly conduct training, support their wards and their parents, volunteer and do their best to accelerate the victory.
Today the focus is on Kateryna Svishcheva, coordinator of the “Yes, I can!” program in Lutsk. The support and development program for children with disabilities and special educational needs realized by involving the children in sports is being implemented in Lutsk for the third year. The main goal of “Yes, I can!” is to change the attitude of society towards people with mental and physical disabilities, as well as help children with disabilities overcome psychological and emotional barriers.
About the importance of training and the launch of an offline group
In addition to training, Kateryna is also active in the public organization called Parents of Children with Down Syndrome, which is currently a volunteer headquarters. The coach says that inclusive online trainings for children have not stopped since March. She recalls that at the beginning of the full-scale war she had a high physical activity, since online trainings took place twice a day, three times a week. For about five months, Kateryna, along with other coaches, supported children with disabilities by conducting online trainings. When we made the schedule of classes, we thought that the coaches would adjust it, taking into account the circumstances, and make changes to it if necessary. But as it turned out, in spite of everything, the trainings were held according to the schedule.
The coach is confident that the trainings should not be suspended during wartime. After all, physical activity helps children with disabilities keep in good shape and not only maintain their psychological state, but also follow discipline.
In early August, Kateryna and her wards got back to offline. The first four offline trainings in football and floorball have already been held. Kateryna sadly notes that a long break in offline trainings had a negative impact on children. For children with difficult diagnoses it took more time to adapt than usual.
— Unfortunately, the children have changed and these changes are not for the better. Six months later, they weaned from the training hall. We conducted the first training very carefully for the children to get used to it and adapt to the situation. Furthermore, we moved to another gym with a bomb shelter. In spite of everything, the fact that the children are happy to join the trainings and show a passionate desire to practice is very inspiring.
Showing the achievements of the wards at the first open training session was not an easy task as well. Having prepared the children for open training, the plans were disrupted by an air raid signal. Therefore, everyone had to go down to the shelter of the gym. In such a way, the mood of the children deteriorated, but the coach immediately came up with a backup plan.
— Our public organization, which has turned into a humanitarian headquarters during the war, is located next to the gym where the trainings take place. After the end of the air alert, we visited our office together with the students of the program. We baked a delicious biscuit together, drank some tea and drew pictures for our defenders, which were later sent to a war zone. After drinking tea and drawing, the children cheered up and we held an open training session in good spirits.
Going forward to the victory together with the wards
It is a mistake to think that people with disabilities cannot actively participate in the public life of the country, especially in the time of military aggression. Kateryna states this judging not by theory, but by practice. Through the experience of their organization, they constantly prove to society that people with disabilities are true patriots who can assist the country.
— Since the beginning of the war, our wards have been volunteering by unloading and packing humanitarian aid. This is an invaluable contribution, more than a dozen tons of cargo have been unloaded, packed and transferred by our teams of athletes with disabilities, — says the coach.
Also, an adult team of athletes with mental disabilities took part in a street football tournament called “Accelerating the Victory”. Kateryna says that it was a charity tournament and the organizers allowed the team of athletes with disabilities not to pay a fee, but it was the decision of the team to take part on general terms in order to contribute to the purchase of a thermal imager for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
— All opposing teams know that our team is taking part in the tournament, they give our athletes the opportunity to score, they are tolerant and understanding. We play to feel the atmosphere, improve physical shape and, of course, to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine!
About inner energy and the secret of optimism
When you talk to Kateryna, it seems like she carries in herself the energy of optimism and shares it with all the surrounding people.
— Delicious coffee, a beautiful new dress, make-up, the success of the wards, the energy from the training process — all these things bring me energy. After all, I am an incurable optimist at heart, — the coach shares with a smile.
Kateryna Svishcheva assures that during all this time she never shed a tear and did not take a sedative. The secret is simple — the thirst for victory, willpower and sports!
Tips for parents from a coach
- Sports are for everyone. For both children and parents. Firstly, in this way children are sure that their parents are with them. Secondly, this indicates that nothing has changed in the child’s life — the training sessions have remained the same, despite the fact that the children had to move.
- Scheduled training always indicates a certain stability, which is very important for children with disabilities. Such children are very sensitive to any changes, so when the parents are nearby and train with a smile and in a good mood — this means that everything is fine.
- Sports exercises are useful and necessary for everyone! So do exercises every day!