S4S UK was founded in 2013 by Isabelle de Vugt, and works alongside local partners in developing countries. In the UK we raise awareness and funding for our work in support of the programmes we develop with our local partners. Until the end of 2015 the largest part of our work was aimed at supporting the development and programmes of our partner organisation in Zimbabwe, also founded by Isabelle in 2008. This organisation was created as a response to the increasing exclusion of children with disabilities and their caregivers in their communities, education and health care systems.
Before Isabelle founded S4S UK and the local partner organisation in Zimbabwe, she was working for a sport and development organisation in the city of Mutare, Zimbabwe. There she became familiar with the ever-growing inequality and social problems of children with disabilities. Because of her background in using the power of sport as a tool to address social issues, health and stigmatisation of children with disabilities the idea of S4S was born. Isabelle was active in Zimbabwe between 2007 and 2013 where she developed the local partner organisation, after which she moved to the UK to set up S4S UK.
In 2008 the local partner organisation in Zimbabwe started on a small scale, and worked initially with volunteers only. The first programmes focused on inclusion of children with disabilities in schools and communities, and sport and games were used as a vehicle to bring about this social change. In this first phase the first caregiver support groups were also established. Since its founding the organisation in Zimbabwe has developed into a professional organisation with a team of full-time employees, numerous local and international volunteers, and various projects.
Presently S4S UK has less focus on providing specific support for the partner in Zimbabwe, instead we are committed to local partners in other developing countries.
We are extremely proud that under Isabelle's leadership S4S Zimbabwe has received various international recognition and awards for the unique, holistic and family oriented approach to tackle the exclusion of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe.