The power of sport. Afghanistan

Promoting the social reintegration of disabled men and women into society through wheelchair basketball and other sports activities in Afghanistan.

Sport contributes concretely to the physical rehabilitation and the reintegration of disabled people into society. It gives them security and self-esteem, opportunities to build social relationships and to be part of a team, restores the fundamental right to play and enjoyment, rights that are so easily – and so often – denied to persons with physical disabilities. In Afghanistan, where the social and political context would suggest the opposite, the results are particularly encouraging. In fact, despite the country having been at war for forty years, disabled people receive compassion and pity from their countrymen, but not rights. Despite the lack of essential health services in the country, which can make sport appear a superfluous luxury, there are hundreds of athletes – both male and female – who regularly practice basketball in wheelchairs, participating in national and international tournaments that are followed by media and fans in ever-increasing numbers. Many disabled children also play soccer, volleyball and cricket, and their number is also constantly growing.

This project is one of the main activities of the Sergio Silvestris Fund in favor of disabled Afghan men and women. The planned activities include:

– supply of competition wheelchairs;

– construction and maintenance of sports fields and courts;

– purchase of sports equipment;

– financing the training of coaches, referees and classifiers;

– funding the participation of the national men’s and women’s teams in international basketball competitions (entry fees, air travel, accommodation and other travel expenses)

– support to the Afghan Federation of Wheelchair Basketball, the Afghan Paralympic Committee and other sports organizations for disabled people.

In 2017, the Afghan national women’s basketball team won the Bali cup in Indonesia, while the men’s national team traveled to Beijing to participate in the Asian qualifying tournament for the world championships of wheelchair basketball. Both national teams received new wheelchairs from the project and four technicians obtained the certificate of international classifiers (a technical field specific to supporting wheelchair basketball and other disability sports).

The project of Nove Onlus and the Sergio Silvestris Fund avail themselves of the ongoing partnership with the ICRC, carried out together with the Afghan Paralympic Committee and the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of Afghanistan.

For more details contact the administrative manager of the project, Elena Noacco

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