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The first wheelchair basketball league launches in Nepal


The first wheelchair basketball league launches in Nepal

ENGAGE shares their press release on the launch of Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League games and school awareness campaign.

The very first Nepal wheelchair basketball league, Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League (EEL) started on Saturday 28 May at the Army Physical Training and Sports Centre and will run till July 2016 with games held every Saturday. The league has the Ministry of Youth and Sports as co-convener and is supported by the Swiss Embassy in Nepal, Turkish Airlines (title sponsor) and a coalition of corporate houses.

The EEL is about building the capacities of the players in order to more fully enjoy the game and get consistent exercise. It builds relationships and recognizes people with disabilities as important actors of change in Nepal. Bikram Rajkarnikar, the league coordinator stated, “the league was started in order for people with disabilities to showcase their talents and to create further societal awareness.”

This initiative is a corporate and individual social responsibility partnership between ENGAGE and many others. The Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal and Turkish Airlines are the main funders of the initiative and have played a very important role in developing and conceptualising the entire initiative by supporting the innovative aspects of the league from the outset.

The opening ceremony saw the participation of Nilendra Raj Shrestha, executive member of the Nepal Olympic Committee, Mr. Ram Hamal, under-secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms. Pia Hänni, first secretary/program manager, Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal and Ms. Archanna Shrestha, regional marketing representative, Turkish Airlines.

Mr. Archanna Shrestha explained how the Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League is part of the global CSR initiative Widen your Heart, a global community engagement program implemented by Turkish Airlines Worldwide.

Nilendra Raj Shrestha expressed his personal and the Nepal Olympic Committee’s commitment to supporting and scaling up of the Turkish Airlines League in future.

Ms. Pia Hänni shared the importance of sport for development and peace in creating new awareness around issues of disabilities. For this reason, the Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League will also include awareness program for schools to create a new understanding on disabilities related issues.

Mr. Ram Hamal highlighted how the new constitution will benefit persons living with disabilities, as it is progressive in nature with stronger rights for persons living with disabilities and the promotion of the sports.

Overall, there were ninety wheelchair players participating in the opening of the league though the number of spectators was a bit disappointing. There is certainly room for improvement in this regard and ENGAGE team is working very hard to bring many people to the next games, which will be held in the Army Cover Hall, offering far better logistical facilities and can host more than 200 persons.

Among all the games held, surely the most interesting and fascinating was the last one who saw J.W.S.C V/S B.I.A teams playing against each other in the Male Category. The final result was B.I.A 22 - J.W.SC 22. During regular time the two teams were tied to 16 to 16 and therefore there went into five minutes of overtime.

As highlighted during the ceremony by Ms. Pia Hänni of the Swiss Embassy, the Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League is not just about games but also it is about awareness. We have started already with one round of presentations in a local school here in Kathmandu but soon we will start mobilising the same players in the league.

The players will be invited to share their experiences, talking directly with the students but also showing their wheelchair basketball talents in 3 vs 3 exhibition games.

We hope that in this way we can create a conversation about disabilities by engaging and involving hundreds of students within the Kathmandu Valley.

ENGAGE will propose to establish local all-inclusive ENGAGE Empowering clubs as informal groups of students who will create awareness about disability at the grassroots level.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Sunday, June 5, 2016 - 23:00