The Laos Disabled People's Association is the country's leading advocate for People with Disability - but it still has no program to support sports for PWD. Laos is a nation that loves sporting activities, so we believe that by lifting opportunities for PWD to become physically active, we can build bridges that will help overcome stigma associated with disability. Wheelchair basketball is a great way to pilot the project, as it is an exciting sport and the LDPA has run successful clinics before.
Laos has a very high level of disability, and a very low level of services. Sports activities are something that is rarely considered, as primary health care is always prioritized. This means that PWD are always seen as victims, or as powerless, which compounds existing stigma's and limits the opportunities for PWD to be proud about who they are and what they can achieve. The LDPA has thousands of members throughout Laos, many of whom love sports, but have limited opportunity to play them.
By offering the chance for People with Disability to be seen as powerful, athletic people, many barriers have the potential to be overcome in the long term. This is a small move in the right direction, but one that we believe could have very big benefits into the future. Wheelchair basketball is a great sport to create support for disability sports, as it is very exciting to watch, and can create community advocates for disability sports fairy rapidly.
If People with Disability can be recast as equals in Lao society, then the LDPA will have done its work! Laos is a country that is passionate about sport, so any opportunity to show that People with Disability are also passionate and talented sportspeople is a great way to make links and demonstrate equality.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
The LDPA website
The LDPA facebook page