Describe the main features of the measure/initiative:
Figure skating on ice has been and is still a dream for all kids watching those skaters in their beautiful outfit and performing on smooth music with ovations from spectators. Being a passionate of figure skating myself, MARCA found the way of practising this discipline in Mauritius, even though there is no ice in our part of the world. Beginning 2016, I started to do inline figure skating on a special pair of rollers that was invented in the USA about 25 years ago. Since then, I went from thrill to thrill and an ever increasing passion for inline figure skating and dance. Besides the joy and the physical benefit, I increased my level of self-confidence, my determination and my way of looking at life from a different markedly positive perspective. End of 2016, I presented the project of initiating the children from the SHELTER for WOMEN and CHILDREN in DISTRESS (SWCD) to figure skating. The SWCD is an institution that provides shelter mainly for children who lost parental protection for many different reasons and are victims of social evils. The President of the shelter approved the project on the day of the presentation itself, having understood that “something special was being offered to her kids”. The collaboration between MARCA Glide Club and SWCD was kicked off with a presentation gala in December 2016 with already two skaters from the shelter participating in solo. People were amazed with their determination to learn that new discipline. Since then, about 20 kids aged 6 – 18 years old are skating every Sunday morning enjoying the thrill of dancing on wheels with music around the world, including our well-esteemed local Sega. Noteworthy that the kids from the shelter and other skaters of MARCA Glide Club perform together as one team without any form of separation or discrimination between the different parties. I personally train all skaters without distinction and more importantly, I provide free of charge the same skating boots that I personally use, to the shelter athletes. Skating boots are procured from Italy and are expensive, to say the least. I engage personal funds together with the blessings of few sponsors so we are all on the same level playing field. There is now a good cohesion in the group, MARCA Glide Club & Shelter have gone out performing for: 1. Celebration of Independence Day of the country in the presence of high dignitaries including the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister amongst others. 2. Celebration prior to the opening of the Indian Ocean Island Games, where the President hosted the Torch of the game at the State House. 3. Our sacrosanct end of year gala, where skaters display their ability to skate and give fun to 300+ spectators. 4. Participation in many different events on the island where our skills to raise the level of fun and ambiance are appreciated. MARCA Glide Club & Shelter together, collaborates with another shelter in Rodrigues island which is part of the Republic of Mauritius. In February 2018, a skater from the shelter,18 years old, went to Rodrigues with a team to make a model-show for the benefits and amazing eyes of the young kids there. In a view of getting access to a role model, MARCA Glide Club has also arranged for a 4 times France Champion Skater to come to Mauritius for skating lessons mainly for the shelter residents. The best part of our collaboration to-date remains the participation of the participant from the shelter in a World Open Competition which was held in Fasano Italy last July. It was a great experience for me and the President of the shelter to start with, since it was the first time in the history of SWCD that a resident made such an overseas trip and participated in a World Open competition. For the participant of the shelter, that was a “grande première” and a mix of astonishment, joy and sense of achievement resulted from that experience. I took the opportunity to make her visit Rome, France & Spain alongside my wife and my daughters. We made her feel part of the family!!! Our collaboration continues, the challenge remains the funding of a venue for training. My dream is to invest into a multi-purpose venue, where we can perform conditioning training and skating skills training but also sharing attitude and emotional training with the residents of the shelter and the community at large. Very humbly, I have to express the fact that besides, my skills in figure skating, I am also a life coach and a mindfulness practitioner. A holistic approach making a sound mind in a sound body is key to the social integration of the residents of that shelter and making the society at large a better. That will be my tiny, modest contribution to a “better world”.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?:
A regular follow up is performed via regular meetings between the President of the shelter and myself in order to evaluate and adjust accordingly our collaboration. 1. The pace of personal development has increased considerably with skating residents as opposed to those who are not practising the discipline. We try to motivate all the residents, but we let them free to decide on their enrolment. 2. Music soothes the mind, one says! Music and an artistic sports sooth the mind better. The skating residents are calmer in their approach for issues and peers disputes resolutions. 3. The shelter administration has witnessed an increased sense of responsibility amongst the skaters. They need to take care of the skating materials, outfits, boots and other accessories as supplied by the club. 4. There is also a sense of pride to be part of a club. 5. The particular girl from shelter who participated in World Competition in Italy is now a ROLE MODEL for the younger skaters. She is now working as a receptionist in a renowned hotel in Mauritius and she is full of confidence after her participation in Italy. 6. The skaters have developed an artistic quality which was probably latent, figure skating has eventually brought same to light. 7. Self-confidence and auto-determination have increased and same is very tangible amongst the skaters of the shelter. 8. We have seen young girls with zero confidence unable to express themselves at all, picking up self-confidence until they perform in solo at different events. They are gradually able to express themselves better getting them out of their mutism. 9. Last but not least, this experience will last with them through adulthood and further, for example to having performed in front of the Prime Minister of the country or having participated in a World Open Competition in Italy. All above are important ingredients for the re-insertion of those victimised kids in the society.