A timeout in Sunyani
The Wheels4Hope Program by Hoops Care International was established to help physically challenged individuals in the community to participate in sporting opportunities. Most of the participants are low income generators and the program also seeks to tackle the inequality between those who have and those who in the program do not.
It has been a serious challenge in getting funds to motivate these athletes as well as have them train and compete. Over the past six months a lot has been achieved with little or no funding.
Currently, the program has had a German volunteer coach who has been working with the athletes in improving their skills. The coach who at the beginning was little knowledgeable about wheelchair basketball, had to do some intensive research online and through youtube to make her better prepare to handle the challenge we place on her. It has been a success since then as she has been able to not only train them but has also been able to raise some funds through her friends and family at home to buy two wheelchairs and spare parts for the current ones.
In November, Hoops Care arranged a friendly match with the tem from Brong Ahfo region here in Ghana. The Seven hours trip saw us taking 22 athletes from Cape Coast to Sunyani. It was most of the athletes first time going far away from home. We spent three days in Sunyani where there were two games played between our male and female teams and theirs. Although we lost both matches, with the male came close, it was evident that the superior wheelchair of the BA team did much in helping them to achieve such a fete. In the end it was a good eye opener to our athletes who has wish since then to be able to also have sports wheelchairs in order to balance the odd in competitions.
The School of Education, Winneba , also invited the Wheels4Hope Athletes to take part in a program which was organize by the final year student with the motive of informing their peers that inability was not disability. A special exhibition match between able students and the W4H athletes was held. All in attendance admire the skill and competitive spirit of our athletes. It was not easy for the students as they got blown away. At the end, those who took part acknowledge the determination of the athletes with disability as they have personally experienced it was not n easy task playing basketball in wheelchairs.
In December the team got an invite to take part in a wheelchair tournament which was held in Nigeria. Unfortunately, we were unable to make the trip as there was no funding to take the 14 athletes and official to Nigeria. We needed to raise about Two Thousand Dollars but came far short of the amount. Nonetheless we are hoping that next year we might be able to make the trip once we start to plan us ahead of time. The athletes also took the time to visit radio stations and talk to the public on their challenges as athletes. They also use the time to call on others like them no to sit at home but also come out for the weekly sports clinic which is held t the Victoria Park on the weekends.
Finally, we were able to get the attention of a journalist who wrote a newspaper article on the program with the caption, Cape Coast athletes using clinical wheelchairs to play sport.
Male athleted at the Winneba School
Christmas at Wheels4Hope
Banner, T SHirt and News Paper Article
At one of the radio stations
A meeting at HCI Office