All in the same boat!
Created in 2003 and supported by the Safran Foundation for Integration, L’Avi Sourire is an association that promotes rowing as a way of changing attitudes around disabilities.
Development Manager Florin Cordier tells us about Corsicap, a successful example.
Can you please tell us about L’Avi Sourire? What are its core missions and target audience?
We have two main goals: the social inclusion and integration of people with disabilities, regardless of their manifestation (whether mental, motor, sensory, or psychological) through rowing and other outdoor water sports.
L’Avi Sourire also aims to be a vehicle for employability by developing transversal skills through sports, cultural, and educational activities. Every year, more than 1,500 people with disabilities join us for these activities.
The Safran Foundation for Integration has offered support to Corsicap by financing the purchase of a yawl*: could you tell us why?
Corsicap is an inclusive sports challenge. It involves rowing the 170 km that separates the towns of Bonifacio and Bastia, in Corsica, with a crew of 10 rowers with a disability escorted by 10 support rowers.
This is a real challenge for participants, since it means getting out of their daily routine, leaving their comfort zone. It requires incredible nerve when certain movements or situations are not accessible to you. It means pushing one’s limits and makes it possible to realize what we are capable of, which is so much more than we can imagine! It gives strength and renewed faith for facing the future.
Because embarking on this adventure safely required so much training, Corsicap also demonstrates the many advantages of cultivating a long-lasting sports practice: it improves physical health, creates social bonds, which in turn improve mental health, along with developing transversal social and professional skills such as trust, communication, initiative, or teamwork.
How and why can this sport challenge change apprehensions around disabilities?
Disabilities are invisible on a boat. They disappear and make way for athletes with a shared goal. There are no differences: when it comes to training, physical efforts, or suffering, everyone is in the same boat! Sports have the power to bring people together, while achievements boost confidence. It’s a game changer!
Through Corsicap, L’Avi Sourire simply wants to communicate the idea that with work, resilience, and determination, daunting goals are within everyone’s reach.
And that succeeding together forges unbreakable bonds, whether in a classroom, a company team, or a sports team.
If rowing together on a yawl strengthens us and makes us go farther, why not apply the principle to everyday life?
* Narrow and long, yawls are light rowboats.