Since mid-March 2020, all table tennis Dream Building projects were put on immediate lockdown, impacting the many activities linked to the system.
ITTF Foundation’s local project leaders were then given the important responsibility of responding to immediate needs from their communities. Funds were reallocated to alleviate the severe impacts of COVID-19, and the ITTF Foundation introduced learning and playing table tennis as a way to reduce the isolation in highly affected areas. Health protocols were enhanced by word-of-mouth.
The #TableTennisUnited donation campaign was born. Solutions were generated by the local project leaders to alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 on their communities.
As the effects of the pandemic progressed, ITTF Foundation Dream Building fund-partners shifted their activities dramatically to bring solutions to the immediate needs of their communities: food, hygiene kits, information, and education.
There have been very successful actions in Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kenya, and Uganda with the communities benefiting highly in these challenging times. The ITTF Foundation stands by all their grantees during this global crisis, with a mission to stay safe and move forward together.
Now, as we approach a time with more solutions coming the way of the general public, some major projects are able to restart. Thanks to TTunited support, coaches and projects have gained enough support to sustain themselves and ensure they are able to restart in areas like the Azraq refugee camp.
Sessions had already restarted here in mid-July, twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. This project is supported by the Agitos Foundation and Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation.
Another inspiring return to action has been for the project in Alkmaar, where since mid-August weekly sessions have restarted. This Dream Building Fund project is working on integration and inclusion, with a special focus on refugees.
Following in their footsteps since the end of August, weekly sessions started in Levallois, a project working to delay the symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease while offering a space of well-being and fun to persons with Alzheimer’s disease themselves, their families and caregivers.
“We are really proud of our project leaders and their attitudes during the pandemic. Even though there was no table tennis, they were all really involved in bringing local solutions to their communities. We witnessed true solidarity within the Dream Building community and support from the table tennis community. A big thank you to all those who contributed to keeping the projects afloat during these challenging times. We are really happy some projects are able to start again. We received positive feedback that participants had greatly missed the interaction with their peers during session. We hope all the projects may restart soon and are considering the different ways projects need to adapt, whether in smaller groups, with time slots or mask depending on the demands of the local situation. Time to restart table tennis for good where possible.” Karine Teow, Field Programmes Manager
Additionally, the project in the Za’atari camp in partnership with Peace and Sport is expected to restart in the coming days, as the project leaders remain in close contact with their members in the field.
The ITTF Foundation expects the 2020 Dream Building Projects to start in the first quarter of 2021 and the next call for Dream Building Fund projects to commence in mid-2021.