MILAN - The right to play is an objective shared by Inter Campus and the non-profit association L’abilità. This much was clear right from the very first meeting between the two entities, when they discussed playing opportunities for those with disabilities. These ideas then took tangible form in 2018 when the Gioco al Centro project was launched by the Fondazione di Comunità Milano, which has been working to provide inclusive playgrounds that can accommodate both disabled and non-disabled children across the nine municipalities of Milan.
“Our guiding principles brought us together: caring for children, and not just from a medical point of view; promoting quality of life and well-being; recognising the need to play in order to grow and develop skills; having fun.” A natural consequence of this was the desire to create a shared project, and this began with a training course which Carlo Riva considered to be a “training exchange or, better still, a convergence of people who work in different fields but are able to find a common educational ground.” The director of the association continued: “This means we’re able to exchange ideas and grow together in a progressive fashion. Inter Campus coaches have both technical and especially educational experience and expertise, thus allowing for the smooth running of frontal and non-frontal lessons and effective work to take place on the pitch.”
Launched in December 2019, the project involves 17 girls and boys with various intellectual disabilities but who are able to take part in playing activities organised by technical staff and the pedagogist Elisa Rossoni. “The Inter Campus-L’abilità project is a wonderful initiative because the children engage in meaningful activities which promote inclusivity with their futures in mind,” Riva added. “These children will be able to play with a ball at their feet on playgrounds and elsewhere with other children.”
The Covid-19 emergency has resulted in activities in the gym being interrupted, but there has been constant contact with Carlo Riva and Elisa Rossoni. This has allowed coaches Davide Lubes and Gabriele Raspelli to create ad-hoc videos, which have been passed on to the families involved in order to give them some respite, bring a sense of continuity and keep the connection to the children alive.
“Activities have stopped but our intention is to resume them as soon as possible, perhaps outdoors. In doing so, we’ll devise a new strategy and go again with a new approach that will continue to promote the right to play. The project is still in its early stages but will develop over time, with this being a common goal we’ve always shared.”