Wheelchair basketball teams not only give hope and confidence to team members, but also raise awareness in communities as to the challenges and ultimate potential of the players, despite their disabilities.
Clear Path International (CPI), in partnership with Afghan Amputee Bicyclists for Rehabilitation and Recreation (AABRAR) and with funding from the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has created a 24-man, six-team league in Afghanistan. The three teams in Kandahar province and three teams from Nangahar province will ultimately play for a championship title in a high profile wheelchair basketball double-elimination tournament in Kandahar City in March of 2013.
Each of the players has received a specialty basketball wheelchair for training and the tournament, and will benefit from multiple training sessions each week with dedicated coaches for the duration of the project.
In addition to providing physical recreation that builds confidence in the team members, there are benefits to the community as a whole. As a follow-up to the tournament, CPI will be polling those in the audience of the games to measure demonstrable changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior (KAB) towards people with disabilities compared to baseline measures collected from residents across Kandahar City.
The KAB surveys enable CPI to track the social impact of the project – a process that continues to feature in the approach taken by the CPI team. Findings from the comparison of the baseline surveys with those in attendance at the tournament event help to paint a picture of the social change CPI aims for in these kinds of initiatives.
Clear Path International, in partnership with the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement provides assistance to victims of war and other people with disabilities by implementing projects that address the full range of needs of conflict survivors including installing physical accessibility solutions at key public sites, other sport activities to promote social inclusion, vocational skills training, and development of disability resource centers that provide support and assistance from peer advocates.