"There has been small growth in social inclusion programmes which seek to combine people living with disability and able bodied players in order to drive cohesion and acceptance but we really have a long way to go. We are still far from having this phenomenon as the norm on our playgrounds," says de Jong.
One of the key highlights of the discussion was that many sport development NGOs did not know how to adapt their programmes for people living with disability, which meant they either steered clear of social inclusion completely or went about it the wrong way. "Social inclusion is not about paying lip service but it's about knowing it's the right thing to do and getting on with it," continues de Jong.
Isabel de Vugt, the founder of Sport 4 Socialisation, an inspiring initiative in the rural town of Mutare, Zimbabwe, which seeks to drive social inclusion by allowing disabled children to participate in sport, mentioned that the process of social inclusion necessitated the need for new rules. "When dealing with children of varying disabilities, the only thing to do is throw away the rules and create new rules to games and sporting codes. Having that attitude will free you up to really look for ways to make a difference," says de Vugt.
It was also mentioned that when looking to develop social inclusion programmes, it is vital that NGOs partner with social structures such as social workers and parental involvement was seen as a key to removing the stigma associated with disability. "When parents are able to walk out of their homes with their disabled children, it is a bold statement saying I am not ashamed, and that is where the process of social inclusion and acceptance begins to take place," says de Vugt.
De Jong did caution, however, that the timing of cohesion was key, and the best strategy was not always for immediate cohesion. "Depending on the situation, it may be better to start with completely separate programmes for people living with disability and the able bodied, or running parallel programmes which happen at the same time and in the same venues. Forcing cohesion in certain situations may do more harm than good," says de Jong.
"Inclusion means disabled and able bodied programmes are not disparate- they are the same because it's all about people and driving social cohesion," concludes de Vugt.
The action packed Beyond Sport Summit is taking place in Cape Town until Thursday 8 December. Highlights of the summit include a keynote address by South African Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and an address by Former British Prime Minister and Chairman of the Beyond Sport Ambassadors, Tony Blair.
for more information or follow us on Twitter on @BeyondSport
to keep up with the discussions, outcomes and news.