OpenPlay Inclusion — Portugal


ERASMUS+, Key action 1: youth exchange

Venue: Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Dates: 21—30 May 2024

Czech team: 5 participants + 1 group leader 

Please read the info-pack

Hosting organisation: Centro Cultural e Desportivo Estrela do Zêzere da Boidobra

Project report:

From May 20th to 30th, 2024, six enthusiastic participants from the Czech Republic embarked on an unforgettable journey to Serra Estrela, Portugal, to participate in the Erasmus Plus Youth exchange project, “OpenPlay Inclusion.” This enriching experience was made possible by the meticulous planning and organization of Centro Cultural e Desportivo Estrela do Zêzere da Boidobra, a dedicated institution that uses sports to promote learning, inclusion, and diversity.

We arrived in the picturesque region of Serra Estrela, near the vibrant city of Covilhã, full of excitement and anticipation. Alongside participants from Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Spain, we were ready to dive into a week filled with learning, cultural exchange, and personal growth.

Our hosts created a warm and welcoming environment from the very start. Through a variety of activities and workshops, we quickly bonded with our international peers. We explored crucial topics such as the importance of inclusivity in sports and the current challenges faced in integrating all social groups. These discussions were not just theoretical; they were enriched by real-life examples and diverse perspectives from our fellow participants.

The hands-on experiences were a highlight of the project. We tried new sports like ultimate frisbee, boccia, and blind football, and even learned to dance bachata. These activities taught us the importance of adaptability, teamwork, and the joy of trying something new. Each sport was a lesson in inclusivity, showing us firsthand how sports can be a powerful tool for bringing people together.

Our adventure wasn’t confined to the sports field. The project also included several memorable outdoor activities that showcased the natural beauty and cultural richness of Portugal. We hiked to the highest point of continental Portugal, where we were rewarded with breathtaking views. A trip to the historic city of Covilhã allowed us to immerse ourselves in local culture and history. We also embarked on a scenic hiking trip through the Serra Estrela mountains, strengthening our bonds as we navigated the beautiful, challenging terrain together.

The week in Serra Estrela was more than just a series of activities; it was an eye-opening journey that broadened our horizons and deepened our understanding of inclusivity and diversity. We left Portugal with new skills, new friends, and a renewed commitment to promoting inclusive sports in our own communities.

Reflecting on the experience, it’s clear that “OpenPlay Inclusion” was more than just a project. It was a catalyst for change, inspiring each of us to take what we learned back to our own countries and continue the work of fostering inclusion through sports. We are grateful to Centro Cultural e Desportivo Estrela do Zêzere da Boidobra and Erasmus Plus for making this incredible experience possible.

To sum it up, projects like “OpenPlay Inclusion” are essential for creating a world where everyone feels included and valued. We returned home inspired, motivated, and ready to make a difference. Thank you to everyone who made this project a reality!

David F.

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