USAID donates sports equipment to physically disabled
7/22/2009 2:12:29 AM -
Accra, July 21, GNA - The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum has handed over a number of sports equipment to the Sports Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled with a call to all to renew and resolve to ensure their commitment towards the welfare of the disabled.
He noted that when the disabled are given the necessary support and encouragement it would enable them to discover and maximise their talents in all spheres of life devoid of stigmatisation.
Mr Teitelbaum handed over 30 basketball wheel chairs, 14 hand-bicycles and helmets and five racer bikes to members of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) in the Greater Accra Region at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre on Monday for distribution to the members.
It was made possible by the US Government through the Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the Society to promote wheelchair basketball among persons with disabilities to help them compete in major special international sporting events.
Mr Teitelbaum said the US Government was committed to promoting the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disability and hoped that the equipment will help reduce the isolation and stigma of disabled persons and empower them to take up responsible leadership positions and engage in healthy sporting activities.
He expressed concern that some disabled persons continue to beg along the streets instead of taking advantage of the training and employment opportunities offered by various organisations and government.
The Ambassador noted that helping the disabled should not be seen as doing them a service or favour but society should deem it as their right to benefit from all facilities and opportunities without discrimination.
The donation forms part of the 280 wheelchairs valued at 70,000 dollars which the Society has already distributed to the physically disabled in all the ten regions.
Mr Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, President of the Sports Wing said the donation forms part of a grant under the USAID's sports diplomacy initiative which seeks to advance the missions policy of inclusion for people with disabilities.
He said the initiative ensured the procurement of custom-made wheelchairs basketball chairs for men and women's teams, hand bikes and helmets, race bikes for amputee cycling programme, basketballs, jerseys and a training programme in the maintenance of the equipment to ensure their sustainable use.
Mr Adu Boampong, President of GSPD said the Board decided to establish the Sports Wing noting how crucial sports and recreation can assist in the development, rehabilitation, empowerment and integration of people with disability in the country through sporting activities.
He said for people with disability, sporting activities do not only promote good health and physical well being but also provides opportunities to sensitise the general public to disability issues and equality, including equal access and integration.
Mr. Boampong urged the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Council and other stakeholders to collaborate with the various disability sports organisations to ensure that the structure of the National Paralympic Committee is reviewed to meet its objectives of developing and promoting sports for persons with disability.
Alem Bawa Mumuni, one of the beneficiaries of the project won the first edition of the African Para-Cycling Championship in Niger recently using the donated racer bike to the Society and has qualified to participate in the UCI World Championship in Italy later this year.