On June 21, 2016, in preparation for the Paralympic Games held in Rio, Brazil, Handicap International presented 20 Congolese athletes with disabilities with racing wheelchairs.
“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 organization 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.”
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 the Kinshasa General Referral 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,” said 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 USAID. The aim of this project is to increase the self-reliance of people with disabilities.”
Olympian John Muengani explains, “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.”
Sport and disability
Handicap International runs projects in several countries to promote the personal fulfilment and inclusion of people with disabilities through sport, including children living in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. In June 2016, Handicap International also organized the first cricket match to include players with and without disabilities from colleges in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.