Qatar Foundation will be recruiting and training specialist accessible volunteers to support the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Volunteer Programme in the delivery of the most accessible FIFA World Cup™ to date.
Interested individuals can register on qatar2022.qa/volunteers and must enter the code VOLQF under the “Partner/Affiliation Code” option on page 3 of the application form to indicate their interest in becoming an accessibility volunteer. The registration deadline is 31 July.
Accessibility volunteers will receive FIFA core training, and additional training on accessibility and inclusivity, to create a welcoming environment for differently-abled football fans.
Commenting on the value volunteers bring to such events, Ryan Moignard, Special Needs Football Coach at Qatar Foundation (QF), said: “Volunteers are key to the success of all mega-events and much more so at events that have people with accessibility needs in attendance. They play an integral role in ensuring the health and safety of those involved. I would go as far as saying volunteering to support people with accessibility needs is one of the most impactful forms of volunteering one can do.”
Accessible volunteers will assist with visitor experience throughout the FIFA Fan Fest in Al Bidda Park, within sensory havens in the Global Street Carnival on the Corniche, and as fans make their way to matches in Education City Stadium.
34-year-old Tom Eastham, a marine fuel specialist at Qatargas, has been volunteering to support the delivery of the ability-friendly football sessions offered at QF since early 2022 and has over eight years of experience volunteering with people with a wide variety of disabilities.
He said: “When I volunteer, I like to be fully involved, and when you are working with a group of people that need additional attention, being hands-on is exactly what you get out of it. When you volunteer elsewhere, you can sometimes feel like a bit of a spare part and feel like you’re not adding much value, whereas volunteering with people with additional needs is exactly the opposite. Our presence as volunteers can make or break the experience for someone with special needs, and that’s what inspires me to keep doing it.”
QF's training program partnership with FIFA for accessible volunteers reflects its mission which is built around empowering people by opening up opportunities for participation, involvement, and discovery for all.
QF is actively supporting the delivery of integrated accessibility for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ through the development of sensory spaces for all individuals who may require sensory regulation and a calm area of respite, building local capacity and expertise through training of accessibility volunteers, audio descriptive support, auditing fan areas for accessibility standards, and implementation of an accessible events experience.
For Sabika Shaban, a mother of two disabled children aged seven and 11, the news of dedicated accessibility volunteers brings great relief. Despite having already bought tickets to some of the matches, she has been on the fence about whether she should take her children.
She said: “Knowing that there will be an entire task force at the games that is able to interact, understand and support people with accessibility needs gives me a lot more confidence to take my children to the game. It makes me feel like my kids would actually be welcome and that if something happens and we need help, we won’t be on our own.”
Source and cover image credit: Press release
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