Sreyno is a 16 years old deaf girl, studying in Grade 8 at Krousar Thmey special school and in the nearby public school (half day each every day). But above all, she is a sport lover since her childhood. A passion that Krousar Thmey together with Kampuchea Balopp helped to develop through rugby:
“I started playing rugby 3 years ago. I did not know it before, since I used to play football only. Sport has always been a good way to make friends at public school. I have more opportunities to communicate with informal Sign Language than in class. Now, I love playing rugby as much as I used to love playing football. I even stopped playing football to focus on rugby. I truly enjoy the fighting spirit, especially during the scrum”.
Indeed, since October 2015, thanks to Australian Aid and UNICEF Cambodia, Krousar Thmey has been implementing a program to facilitate access to sport for children and youths with visual or hearing impairment. This was made possible by the exclusive partnership existing between KT and Kampuchea Balopp, which started by teaching rugby and athletics to students with disabilities couple of years before.
The goal of this new project is to make sport part of the usual schedule at school for all students, as it is planned by the Ministry of Education. And it now happens. Students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 can join diverse sport classes at KT special schools, thanks to teachers trained by Kampuchea Balopp on sport pedagogy for children with visual or hearing impairment. Eventually, access to sport has an incredible impact on the inclusion of Krousar Thmey pupils.
“My family truly supports me since I started playing rugby. They always want to know when I will play and where I will go. Other friends at public schools also ask me. I truly enjoy playing with other children from other schools and NGOs. Whether I play only with deaf teammates or with hearing teammates doesn’t change that much. We manage to understand each other.”
Sreyno became a living example of inclusion through sport. Even if she enjoys discovering new sports at school, rugby remains her favorite.
“Last month, I went to Thailand to play an Asian rugby tournament. I was the only deaf girl in the Cambodian team. Even if it was sometimes difficult to communicate, I truly enjoyed it. I would do it again. Actually, I even would like to become a professional player. I don’t know if it will be possible, but my teacher at Krousar Thmey helps me to improve. However, for now, I focus on my studies, at least until High School national exam that I will takehopefully in 4years”.