The wheelchair basketball team from Champasak Province emerged victorious at the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament after narrowly beating the host province (Vientiane) 34-33 in the final. This made Vientiane and Luang Prabang the first-runner up and second-runner up, respectively.
The tournament, held at the Vientiane International School, marked the first time that players from Champasak, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Xieng Khouang Provinces, along with teams from Vientiane, came together to compete. The tournament is part of the “Para Sports Awareness Raising Program through the Development of Wheelchair Basketball in Local Provinces,” which helps empower persons with disabilities so they can live to their fullest potential and be active in their communities.
“We are convinced that this project will enable other people with disabilities to join and participate in more leisure and sport activities in the future. We believe that wheelchair basketball showcases the World Education’s TEAM project spirit wonderfully, and we hope to continue to display the skills of the Lao players to a wider audience,” said Colette Mclnerney, the Country Director of World Education.
The U.S Ambassador to Laos, Rena Bitter, also added, “The U.S. Government is committed to supporting the integration of Persons with Disability (PWD) into society, working to remove barriers and help people improve their quality of life.”
The sub-grants are part of a $5 million grant USAID awarded to the World Education Laos TEAM project in September 2014. The project provides sub-grants to local and international non-profit organizations in four main areas: training medical and physical rehabilitation staff, increasing access to economic empowerment opportunities for people with disabilities and their families, providing assistive technology to people with disabilities, and improving availability of medical and physical rehabilitation services. The goal of the project is to create a country where persons with disabilities, especially women and girls, are empowered and enabled to attain and maintain maximum independence to fully and equally participate in all aspects of life.