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A group of 200 children with different intellectual, visual and auditory abilities, from different Japanese populations, together with other non-disabled children, participated in the Festival for Social Inclusion on Monday, organised by Konami and the Barça Foundation in Tachikawa Arena Tachihi. The Penya FC Barcelona Japan also took part, with volunteers helping with the logistics of the event.
The event was attended by FC Barcelona, with the participation of first vice-president of the Club and the Barça Foundation, Jordi Cardoner; director Emili Rousaud; ambassador and Barça Legends player, Juliano Belletti; Barça Foundation board member, Felip Boixareu; director of the Foundation, Mària Vallès, and member of the Board of Directors, Jaume Masferrer. The highest representative for Konami was Osamu Nakano, executive vice-president of the Corporate Office of Konami Holdings and president of Konami Digital Entertainment. The event also welcomed local authorities, represented by Kozo Tashima, president of the Japanese Football Association (JFA) and Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, president of the Japanese Inclusive Football Federation (JIFF).
During the festival, which lasted for over two hours, the children enjoyed the different FutbolNet activities with the supervision of 70 local coaches, trained in this methodology used by the Barça Foundation. Some 30 volunteers contributed, among them members of the Penya Barça Japan.
Along with the children, the main protagonist of the day was Juliano Belletti, who took part in the different specific activities. In one of these games, with children with visual disabilities, the Barça player put on specially adapted glasses without lateral vision in order to experience the same conditions as the children who participated. 75 percent of the children present at this Festival had a type of disability, and this is the highest percentage of all FutbolNet Festivals that the Barça Foundation hacarried out around the world. The event ended with speeches from the representatives of the different institutions and the presentation of medals to each and every one of the children who participated.
The Barça Foundation, thanks to Konami's support, runs this program in Japan with different organisations to help create a more egalitarian and inclusive society. The Festival for Social Inclusion is part of the Barça Foundation’s Diversity program, which fosters social inclusion in sport for children with disabilities and is currently in place in both Catalonia and New York. It is estimated that there are 93 million children with disabilities in the world (5% of the child population) and in Japan it is estimated that 6% of the population have a disability. Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government is opting for sport as a tool for the inclusion opeople with disabilities.
A new project in Japan
The Barça Foundation, with Konami’s support, has initiated an inclusion project aimed at children with disabilities in Japan. It has trained more than 110 football coaches in the FutbolNet methodology, for use in their sports sessions. This project encourages the participation of boys and girls in a uniform way, regardless of the characteristics and abilities of each one, and aims to create totally inclusive places for children and young people with and without disabilities. It aims to offer the opportunity for participants to play, share experiences and express themselves freely without anyone being excluded. FutbolNet Methodology
FutbolNet's methodology is a socio-educational tool that uses physical activity and sport for inclusion and social transformation, and manages to change the lives of children living with violence, discrimination and poverty. It also promotes FC Barcelona’s values: Humility, effort, ambition, respect and teamwork, based on a culture of cooperation, where values benefit the individual and the community.
The Barça Foundation aims to make children and young people with disabilities participate, like any other person, in games and sports. For this reason, all of the programs that use the FutbolNet methodology are inclusive, open to all, and benefit 146,000 boys and girls from more than 50 countries around the world. In some countries there is a participation rate of 5% of children with disabilities.
Besides the Diversity program, the Barça Foundation also uses this methodology in its programs for refugees, prevention of violence and social inclusion in various countries of the world.
Statements by Jordi Cardoner, First Vice-President of FC Barcelona and of the Barça Foundation
"We are very happy to have organised this activity in Tokyo today for childre whom, through our FutbolNet methodology, have been able to enjoy sport and the magic of Barça. Achieving emotional and physical well-being is our goal, as we do in 59 countries in the world, and now also in Japan. I would like to thank Konami for their collaboration and support to take this initiative forward. It will continue in a new Foundation project throughout the season. "
Statements by Osamu Nakano, Vice-President of the Konami Corporate Office and President of Konami Digital Entertainment
"In 2016 we became Premium partners to FC Barcelona. The club have worked on many social projects over the last few years and we believe that understanding this spirit and participating in its activities is a step towards a real partnership. We have been working with the Barça Foundation. The spirit of sporting activity, which provides fun for the disabled, but also to those who are not, is in line with our desire to connect people from all over the world through entertainment games. I would like to thank the Barça Foundation, the Japanese Football Association (JFA), the Japanese Inclusive Football Federation (JIFF) and all of the coaches and children that have made this festival possible today."
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