“JUDO INclusion“ is a project of physical activity which includes children with mental difficulties, social difficulties (autism, ADHD etc.), with sensory disadvantages and those of hearing and sight, children with motor difficulties and with the Down syndrome. One of principal tasks of this EU project is the education of general population of children to learn to accept and support their peers with developmental difficulties to become equal members of the community.

The European Social Fund is financing the project “JUDO INclusion“ – ACTIVE AND HEALTHY – RIJEKA. The association 'POKRET – AKTIVAN I ZDRAV' (MOVEMENT – ACTIVE AND HEALTHY) is implementing the project in Rijeka within the judo club “Rijeka,“ under the supervision of a professional team of physical education teachers. The Croatian Judo Union (HJS) is a partner of great significance as the top judo organisation in Croatia, which enables the implementation of the project in Rijeka and neighbouring towns. HJS is of exceptional import in training judo trainers for working with the target groups and enabling making the awareness connected to the integration of disabled persons and children with developmental difficulties into regular sport programmes.

Inclusion into everyday life of children with developmental difficulties (TUR) and their successful re-socialisation into society is a goal of the “JUDO Inclusion” project, which we are successfully implementing with the help of a professional team of physical education teachers – judo trainers, and the support coming from the family. Physical activity for the purposes of protecting and advancing health has a great preventive, transformational, curative and rehabilitative role. However, the integration of children with developmental difficulties into sport activities also enables their gradual inclusion into the environment, overcoming of the feeling of being lost, the feeling of inferiority in relation to other children and the feeling of being unable to do sports.

JUDO IN is JUDO FOR EVERYBODY: judo is a sport wide a very wide range of inclusion into exercising for adults and children, of different physical ability. They say in Japan judo is practised by everybody from 5 to 105. Judo has been proven as an excellent sport for social inclusion, and is exceptionally useful for children with special needs, for the different spectrum of adapted exercises enable them to be physically and socially active.

Through joint trainings in the judo club “Rijeka,“ we are implementing the inclusion of children and youth with developmental difficulties into the general population of children from regular sports programmes. Just like any children, children with developmental difficulties too struggle on a daily basis for self-respect and self-confidence, but this struggle is even harder in case of disabled children, unless we encourage them, include and integrate them into the community. If they exercise merely in the clubs for children with developmental difficulties, they are still excluded from the environment they live in. The activities of the “JUDO INclusion“ project are reflected in the development of regular sports programmes and recreational activities and joint trainings of children with developmental difficulties and those from regular school programmes. Via active participation in trainings and sport manifestations, where they meet their peers and better their sport, communication and social skills, they are more easily included into the life of the community where they are educated, where they live, and tomorrow perhaps work.

A professional team of physical education teachers

A professional team of physical education teachers, through tailored sports judo activities, successfully re-socialise children with developmental difficulties. Judo exercising enables better effects of physical activities on their overall psycho-physical condition: improving the muscle tone, strength, ability to move, spatial orientation, coordination, improvements in self-confidence, positive perception, improvements in sensory abilities, development of independence and help within the group, adoption of judo skills and techniques, company and merriment; thus, inclusion occurs – acceptance in society, by peers and the community.

Wider benefits of the project “JUDO INclusion“ is great for every child who feels “different.” Children with developmental difficulties are more limited in participation in sports activities than their peers, while the gap increases with age. This is why “JUDO INclusion“ was initiated. A child with developmental difficulties has difficulties in socialisation and finds it hard to keep company with other children, because they feel “different,” and this easily results in isolation and exclusion from the environment. Children with developmental difficulties face each day what they cannot do, just like their parents. They will have an easier time if we encourage them to do what they can do, not what they cannot. “JUDO INclusion“ activities, in case of a child with special needs, foster the attitude of “I can do this,” instead of “I cannot do this.” Each day, judo will help them feel safer and more independent. What’s most important, they will feel happier. Social inclusion through judo is exceptionally useful for children with special needs, because it enables them to be active, socially and physically.

The impact of sport on health of children with developmental difficulties (TUR) - all children benefit from physical activity, and disabled children are no exception. Participation of children with developmental difficulties improves their physical, emotional and social welfare. Paediatricians and clinical research point to significant health benefits in case of including children with developmental difficulties into physical activities. Consequences of physical inactivity, in case of disabled persons, include lower cardio-vascular condition, osteoporosis and weakened circulation. Moreover, psycho-social consequences of inactivity include lower self-respect, lower social acceptance, and, finally, greater dependence on others for day to day activities. Advantages of physical activities are universal for all children, but children with developmental difficulties are more limited in their options for participation in sports and recreational activities, and, because of this, have higher obesity rates than their peers without disabilities. Current epidemic of obesity connected to inactivity is a global problem of health care for all children, including those with disabilities. Children with developmental difficulties have lower levels of cardio-respiratory condition, lower levels of muscle endurance and higher rates of obesity than other kids. Alongside, physiological advantages of lower body mass and increased overall condition, it has been proven regular physical activity in case of children with developmental difficulties helps in the control or slowing down the advancement of chronic disease, has impact on overall improvement of health and functioning in the sense of psycho-social impact onto children and their families. Physical activity develops a corresponding level of muscle strength and endurance, which is connected to increased bone mass, decreasing injuries from falls and a greater ability for everyday life. Because of what was stated above, parents of children with special needs often seek information on the options for recreation or inclusion into sport. We are here to help.

Educating professionals – “JUDO Inclusion,“ in its programme, emphasises the development of the association as well, by educating the experts of the association and training the judo trainers for working with children with developmental difficulties. Furthermore, through activities of the programme, using inter-disciplinary approach, raises awareness of including children with developmental difficulties. “JUDO INclusion“ project, in cooperation with the International Judo Federation (IJF), exchange experience in practising judo with children with developmental difficulties in projects initiated by the “British Judo - GB Special Needs,“ “Scottish Special Needs Judo Group”, “Belgian Judo Federation – Special Needs“ – and other national judo unions within the IJF.

Documents: The project “JUDO INclusion“ and its goals fully address EU, national and regional strategic documents in the area of social inclusion. The programme was designed based on the appraisal of needs in the area, and fully complies with the National strategy for equal opportunities for disabled persons from 2017 to 2020. Direct connection of the activities is visible at the EU level in the DIRECTIVE no. (EU) 1304/2013 of the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT and COUNCIL, dated 17 Dec 2013, on the European Social Fund, where it is indicated the ESF must promote social inclusion. It is highlighted the availability of accessible, sustainable and quality services must be taken care of, this in case of general interest, and especially in the area of health care, employment and trainings connected to child care, while it is stated the providers can be social companies and NGOs. At the national and regional levels, the connection is visible through, as follows: THE NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN FOR THE PERIOD 2014 – 2020. The connection is visible through the strategy of continuous development of all encompassing, well adjusted, quality and available social services. Also, there is clear connection with the priority areas: 1, 2, and 3.

The association “POKRET - AKTIVAN I ZDRAV“

The association “POKRET - AKTIVAN I ZDRAV“ have, since 2010, implemented programmes of universal prevention and popularisation of physical activity for the purposes of health and preventing negative sociological behaviour. They are supported by: the Office for combating illicit drugs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, the International Olympic Committee and the Croatian Olympic Committee. The programmes have been implmeneted in primary schools in the City of Dubrovnik, the Town of Samobor and the City of Zagreb. Representatives of the Association, in 2013, participate with the Croatian Institute for Public Health, in introducing the programme of Health Education, within the module Healthy Living of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport.

The project, through sports activities, exhibits excellent connection to the international document THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE COUNCIL ON IMCREASING THE ROLE OF SPORT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSVERSAL SKILLS, ESPECIALLY AMONG YOUTH, and THE SPORT ACT, according to which the protection of the integrity of sport is established, by combating illegal and discriminatory behaviour; promoting the social role of sport.

Activities of the specific goal are reflected in the development of regular sports programme and recreational activities: - joint training sessions of persons from the target groups and persons from regular sports programmes, - improving the capacity of trainers, sports instructors and other implementing parties of project activities in working with target groups, - via activities of inter-disciplinary cooperation, improvement of awareness of the importance and capabilities of including persons with disabilities and children with developmental issues into sports activities


EXPECTED RESULTS are the inclusion of 40 participants with disabilities and children with developmental issues and 4 activities for creating awareness / public campaign.

  • Project total value: HRK 1,484,378.00
  • Amount co-financed by EU (HRK): 1,261,721.30
  • Project implementation timeline: from 27 Sep 2018 to 27 Sep 2020
  • Contact persona for further information:
    Name and surname: Vitomir Spasović
    Tel.: +385 91 542 1074
    Email: mali.sportasi@gmail.com
THE GOAL of the project is successful integration of children with developmental issues and persons with disabilities into the implementation of “JUDO INclusion“ sports activities and their successful re-socialisation into society with the help of professional disability experts and physical education teachers and support coming from the family. Alongside children and youth and their families, the programme stresses the development of the association through the education of association’s experts and training the judo trainers for working with children with developmental issues. Furthermore, through the activities of inter-disciplinary cooperation, awareness of the inclusion of children with developmental issues is created.

European Social Fund

Operative programme Effective Human Potential 2014 – 2020

The implementation of the project is co-financed by EU from the European Social Fund. For further information regarding EU funds please visit the webpage of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds: www.strukturnifondovi.hr

The content of the webpage is the exclusive responsibility of the association Pokret – aktivan i zdrav (Movement – active and healthy), an association for the promotion of physical activity. The creation of the webpage was co-financed by EU from the European Social Fund.

Projekt je sufinancirala Europska unija iz Europskog socijalnog fonda.