Polin Waterparks has sponsored a project in the Turkish capital, giving those with disabilities a chance to skate on ice.
The first ‘We’re Overcoming the Barriers on the Ice Rink’ event was organised by volunteers from MARTI (Marmara Recreational Therapy Istanbul) at the city’s Marmara University. Trainers from Sports Istanbul were there alongside 15 students to support members of the Turkish Paraplegic Association (TOFD) at Istanbul’s Silivrikapı Ice Rink on December 19.
“The project’s priority is to provide relief to physically-challenged individuals confined to a wheelchair and provide them respite from their everyday routines and the opportunity to socialise,” says Tayfur Özkan, a lecturer from the university’s Sports Sciences faculty.
Four specially equipped wheelchairs were supplied as part of the initiative. Training was provided to relatives of the disabled so they could glide on the ice together.
“The project came about with a presentation we made in our class on Recreation,” says Tugay Yelce, a student at Marmara University’s Sports Management department. “We believed that the sky was the limit and we could touch people’s lives.”
Freedom on the ice
“Gliding over the ice was a wonderful feeling,” says TOFD’s Elif Çelik. “If I were to use just one word to describe it, I would say it was simply ‘freedom’.”
Polin’s director of marketing and communications, Söhret Pakis was pleased to participate in the day’s activities. “We thank all of the people who contributed their ideas, hearts and efforts to make this journey possible, transforming a student project’s dream into reality and making so many people glow with happiness,” she says. “We are very happy to have made this tiny contribution to a social responsibility project that is full of goodness.”
Breaking down more barriers
Work will now continue to offer ice-skating courses to more people with disabilities. MARTI has created an Instagram account (@martihareketi) to bring together volunteers with other interested groups.