|Posted on:||Tuesday, 26th July, 2016|
We are very excited to announce CBM's sponsorship of the Rwandan women’s sitting volleyball team, who will become the first African women’s team to compete in the Paralympics in this event. The team of 25 women with disabilities will travel to Rio for the games which take place on 7-18 September 2016. The funding has provided training for the team, their coaches and referees, as well as equipment, and a training camp.
Laura Gore, CBM UK Programme Manager, hopes the team will help to change attitudes to disability in Rwanda and inspire disabled children to pursue their dreams:
"People with disabilities in Rwanda don’t just face huge practical barriers; many also have to deal with stigma and negative attitudes. So we hope that seeing [team captain] Liliane and her team representing their country will show that disabled people can achieve amazing things, and inspire boys and girls living with disabilities to believe in themselves and dream big!"
The team qualified in 2015 by beating Egypt in the African championships, head coach Peter Karreman from The Netherlands explains: “There are many things we have to prepare the team for. Firstly they will encounter a high standard of sitting volleyball, the speed and power of some of the teams will surprise us. Also the cultural differences will shock the team, many have never left Rwanda or been on a plane, so we have to be ready for this too”.
CBM champion Anne Wafula Strike, MBE, a paralympian herself, is excited about the sponsorship:
“I was thrilled to hear CBM is sponsoring the Rwandan sitting volleyball team in the Paralympics, not only is the sponsorship giving these women a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at an international level, but hopefully it will encourage more women with disabilities to get involved in sport too. This is a wonderful achievement and I look forward to watching them compete in Rio.”
The female athletes all have their own personal stories. Team captain Liliane, aged 26, who has two children and runs a clothes shop, has been disabled since aged 8 when she was hit by a car. She hopes their participation in the Paralympics will empower other people with disabilities to get involved,
“Don’t be shy to get involved in disability sports. Through participating in sport your disability becomes less significant, it makes you realize just how much you can achieve with your disability”.