Doha, - The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has taken the first step towards the integration of people with disabilities in the volunteer program of the 2022 World Cup, by organizing the first workshop of the Accessibility Forum, which it launched in November.
The Accessibility Forum is an SC initiative to ensure a seamless fan experience for people with disabilities attending the 2022 World Cup. There are over 30 organizations represented on the forum and their role is to test, evaluate and consult on plans before they are implemented to ensure the best outcome for people with disabilities.
Qatari Paralympic silver medalists, Abdulrahman Abdulqader and Sara Masoud, were among the attendees. They shared their experiences, which will inform the Qatar Football Family's volunteer capacity-building strategy that is currently being formulated to make the country more accessible.
The initiative will look to create a pool of volunteers in the years leading to the tournament. It will include a specific section about accessibility and involve people with disabilities and local organizations in this sector, both to train the volunteers, and be volunteers who will have specific roles in events before the World Cup and during it. The volunteer capacity building program will target approximately 20,000 people in Qatar.
"I hope more people with disabilities volunteer for the World Cup in 2022. Having volunteers with disabilities and be involved in preparations for the tournament shows that Qatar cares about our community," Abdulqader said.
Abdulqader also reminisced about the feeling he got when he won the medal. "When I won the first medal in Qatar's history in the Paralympics I felt amazing. After eight years of training, to get to that point was fantastic." "My family encouraged me to become fitter and compete. My first major tournament was the London Paralympics in 2012. It was an excellent event for spectators and athletes, partly because volunteers were excellent," he added.
Fellow Rio 2016 silver medalist Masoud said: "Volunteers with disabilities sense and feel our needs more. They know exactly what information we need for the best fan experience. They would tell us what roads to take and what's the easier way to move with our wheelchairs." Meanwhile, Ikrami Ahmed Fouad, from the Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for the Blind, said: "It is great that Qatar is looking to involve people with disabilities in preparations so early on. I think people with disabilities can contribute a lot, and by giving them training and the option to volunteer they will be more confident." The Accessibility Forum members represent individuals with different types of visible and invisible disabilities, ranging from physical (visual, speech, hearing, deaf, brain injury, use of a wheel chair); cognitive (intellectual impairments); perceptual (learning disability) and mental health disabilities. (QNA)
Source: Qatar News Agency