Bakcell, the first mobile operator in Azerbaijan is successfully expanding its Corporate Social Responsibility Program “Bakcell Stars” that supports child - focused educational projects. In November 2010, Bakcell and Social Services Initiative (SSI), one of the four Bakcell Stars partner organizations launched Sport for Development and Inclusion (SDI) Project for children with hearing impairments.
The overall goal of SDI project is the use of sport and play to improve psycho-social development of children living in the state institutions. The project targets over 500 children aged 8 to 17 years with hearing impairments from the state boarding schools No 1 and No 3 in Nizami district of Baku. “Within the project, SSI will provide training to 30 physical education teachers from the target institutions to increase their knowledge and practice on sport and play who will then organize Play Days among children to serve the promotion of power of sport and play for all, especially children with disabilities”, says Mr. Mehman Karimov, SSI Executive Director.
“Bakcell truly believes that every child has a talent. We are happy to support children with disabilities by providing a range of sporting opportunities and to make them feel valuable members of the society”, says Ms. Ineke Botter, CEO of Bakcell. In December, 2010 Social Services Initiative within SDI project organized a football tournament dedicated to the International Disabled People’s Day to raise awareness on the sport for the disabled. The tournament was supported by the Football Federation of Disabled People and Azerbaijan Football Federations Association (AFFA). Five teams from the special purpose boarding schools of Baku participated in the tournament.According to Mehman Karimov, SSI Executive Director, this tournament will be remembered by the sportsmen and supporters not only for its intense sports competition, but also for its social and entertainment program. As opposed to the previous tournaments, this time a great number of supporters from the boarding schools were joined by “Olimp” dancing group, Rollers Group, “Mushfig” Support to Children with Disabilities Union and young footballers of Lachin football team. “These talented young children joined this event to support their peers and show solidarity with the message that “Disability is not an illness, it is just the difference in capabilities”, Mr. Karimov said.
Social Services Initiative (SSI) was established in 2008 to provide services to children with intellectual and mental disabilities and help the government in reforming the child protection system so that it meets the needs of children with disabilities. SSI believes in inclusion, diversity, equality, non-discrimination and employs human-rights approach in its interventions."Bakcell Stars" supports child-focused educational projects performed by well-known development organizations as Save the Children, SOS Children's Villages, Social Services Initiative and United Aid for Azerbaijan. The long-term strategic aim is to invest in children's future in developing their potential and talents.
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