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Milan Squadron Disability and Sailing

For some years the Milan South West Rotary Club has been focusing on projects concerned with disability: to quote, “Persons with disability are not a world apart, but a part of the world”. The aim of the club is to try to eradicate all prejudice, so that disabled people are not regarded as a burden on society, but rather as a real economic, social and human resource, especially when they are able to study, work, and engage in meaningful activities.

Disabled children can teach us a lot in terms of determination, courage and will, especially when the routine activities of everyday life, like walking, eating or reading, are the result of intense commitment and energy on their part.

To quote Nelson Mandela, "Sport has the power to unite people like few other things in the world". The Italy North West Fleet has therefore implemented a project entitled “Disability and Sailing”. The key objectives are to develop awareness and self-esteem, so that young people with disabilities have the chance to develop their skills and realize that they are fully capable of overcoming their limitations. After all, the person who succeeds in taming the waves and the winds is able to tame everything else!

The project took place in Varazze from 23rd to 26th May in collaboration with the Varazze Club Nautico, and thanks to the support of numerous members who accompanied the children in all the various activities. The young people attended a complete sail training course, with both practical and theoretical lessons, during which time they had the opportunity to group and socialize, and were assisted by healthcare professionals.

The goal was to inspire participants to gain self-confidence.

The Disability and Sailing project was an incredibly engaging experience, both for the children that participated, and for the organizational team (Samanta Reale, Chiara Passaretti, Antonio Marchesi, and Massimo Degiorgi). Sharing these days, practicing a sport such as sailing, surrounded by the beauty of the nature, has led to all experiencing intense emotions.

Although the participants did not know each other to begin with, after a few hours a strong bond of fellowship and solidarity was established between them all. They learned to help each other and support each other, just like a real crew. Whilst very demanding for the organizing team, it was a also a very constructive and exciting one. These were unforgettable days, animated by pure Rotarian spirit.

Eugenio Bonioli/Antonio Marchesi

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