Smash Down Barriers

Tonga Table Tennis Federation

Tonga currently has an estimated 10% of the population that has identified with having a disability, who are not recognised as part of the community due to long term cultural stigmatisation. Through a government caregiver training that Tonga Table Tennis Federation (TTTF) was involved, a large gap in the remote villages was identified: People with disabilities do not have the opportunity to participate in community or physical activity because of the cultural perceptions and lack of opportunities available in the remote villages.

Many people with disabilities stay home all day due their fear of mistreatment and/or judgement by the community. Whilst perceptions are slowly changing within the suburban areas, the remote villages have fewer opportunities to participate in building their knowledge through education.   

Project support start: 01-09-2021
Project location: Tonga – rural villages and outer islands

TTTF wishes to change the heavily engrained cultural perceptions of people with disabilities by community members, and the perceptions they have of themselves. By rolling out their Bounce it Back programme in remote village schools, they aim to target a large population that is highly susceptible to perspective shift through education. TTTF also aims to target Lead Community Members to ensure that inclusion and awareness is further developed and sustained through exemplified behaviours.

Most importantly, TTTF will be working with people with disabilities to empower and build confidence through table tennis. TTTF believes that a key driver to an inclusive environment in Tonga is having a holistic and multidimensional approach with varied key target groups to maximise the outcomes.

Contribution to the Global Goals

Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

Target 10.3: Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.

  • Individual Change
    • Increased positive mental health and self-confidence for persons with a disability in remote villages
    • Increased social connection for persons with a disability in remote villages
    • Increased physical activity for persons with a disability in remote villages
  • Community Change
    • Increased inclusion for persons with a disability by individuals living in remote villages
    • Increased inclusive table tennis coaching for villagers in remote villages
  • Behaviour and attitudes
    • Increased awareness and understanding of people with disabilities
    • Increased awareness of the need to develop accessible infrastructure and facilities to support the needs of people with disabilities
  • Knowledge and skills
    • Improved knowledge and awareness on inclusion of persons with a disability for lead community members and caregivers, school children, and coaches in remote villages
    • Increased knowledge and awareness for persons with a disability on the positive mental benefits of physical activity for people with disabilities in remote villages
    • Increased technical table tennis skills through inclusive coaching for people with disabilities in remote villages
  • Circumstance, quality of life or well-being
    • Increased feeling of belonging and societal participation for people with disabilities in remote villages
    • Increased opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in regular physical activities
  • 3 inclusion awareness workshops (1 per year) with gatekeepers in the communities
  • Bounce it Back programmes delivered in at least 5 schools in Lapaha District
  • 3 inclusive table tennis coaching courses (1 per year) in remote villages of Lapaha District or an outer island
  • Weekly inclusive table tennis activities in at least 3 remote villages of Lapaha District
  • Regular media stories produced for local media outlets and different media platforms on project successes and progress to raise awareness
  • Inclusive awareness raising workshops with lead community members and caregivers in remote villages
  • Bounce It Back school programme in schools in remote villages
  • Inclusive table tennis coaching course in remote villages
  • Weekly inclusive table tennis activities in remote villages

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  • Dream Building Fund
  • Project leader: Netina Latu Vea
  • Fund recipient: Tonga Table Tennis Federation

Project Partners

Ministry of Internal Affairs (Social Protection and Disability Services), NATA (Disability Advocacy Organisation)

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