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This story was produced by ABC International Development as part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
'Balloons and badminton: smashing stigma in Fiji’: http://www.australiaplus.com/international/style-and-wellbeing/balloons-and-badminton-smashing-stigma-in-fiji/8135382 featuring Fiji Badminton that is supported by Badminton Australia and Badminton Oceania through the Pacific Sports Partnerships.
Horror stories of children with disabilities living in shame are gradually being replaced with stories of success in Fiji. Badminton, albeit a barely-recognisable version of the superfast sport, is playing an important part in this life-giving transition. This Australia Plus feature piece takes us to Lautoka School for Special Education in Fiji for a Shuttle Time Badminton clinic with students. It features pictures from the event and interviews with Fiji Badminton Development officer and co-ordinator of today’s festivities, Mataiasi Nabitu and Acting Head Teacher Kelera Senibulu.
"It is a scene of pure joy.
Two teens pretend they are playing a rocking guitar solo on their racquets.
A barefoot boy balances a shuttlecock on his racquet and flashes a satisfied grin at the teacher encouraging him.
Abdul declares he loves me and everyone else – many, many times over - while Lazarus is giving out unsolicited free hugs.
And then there's the yellow and green balloons. Lots of them.
It could be the birthday party that childhood dreams are made of but it is actually a badminton coaching clinic, and more importantly, a sport for development program being run at Lautoka School for Special Education in Fiji.
Most students at Lautoka School for Special Education won't transition to a mainstream primary or high school so developing living and social skills is paramount. Sport, including the Australian Aid-supported badminton program Shuttle Time, is a critical part of the curriculum."
For Aaron Kearney's full article follow this link: http://ausp.lu/2h4QVFX