On 21st June, 2016, 20 disabled athletes took part in a ceremony organised by the National Paralympic Committee of the Democratic Republic of Congo to present them with sports wheelchairs donated by Handicap International.
Held at the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa, the event was attended, among others, by the General Secretary for Sport, two representatives of the Ministry for Youth and Sports, and the head of the rehabilitation department at Kinshasa Provincial Hospital.
“The Paralympic Games, in which four of the athletes are going to compete, is a wonderful opportunity to show, once again, that people with disabilities have the same rights as those without disabilities,” stated Catherine Stubbe, director of Handicap International in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in her speech at the stadium.
“The athletes with us today are, first and foremost, sportsmen and women. We support their involvement and we’re doing our bit to help them, partly through the ‘TEAM CONGO’ rehabilitation project funded by the US State Department. The aim of this project is to increase the self-reliance of people with disabilities,” she added.
© R. Colfs/Handicap International
“The presentation of these wheelchairs by Handicap International is a source of pride and joy for the National Paralympic Committee of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Betty Miangindula, chair of the National Paralympic Committee of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The organisation has once again helped these athletes overcome an obstacle to competing in the Games. From a psychological point of view, a well-equipped athlete is a motivated athlete: they will give their best and compete in the Paralympic Games with pride.”
One of the athletes, John Muengani commented: “I’m really pleased that Handicap International has gifted these adapted racing wheelchairs. We’ve made the grade and we’re going to represent the Congolese nation at the Paralympic Games in Rio!”
The sports wheelchairs donated by Handicap International are made by Motivation.
Sport and disability
Handicap International runs projects in several countries to promote the fulfilment and inclusion of people with disabilities through sport, including children living in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. In June 2016, Handicap International also organised the first inclusive cricket match for players with and without disabilities from colleges in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.