In Haiti, disability is more than just a physical handicap. It is socio-economic handicap - a sentence to a life of hardship and separation from mainstream society. The common Creole word used to describe a disabled person is “cocobai,” which loosely translates to “worthless.” The Sports Center on the Baptist Convention of Haiti Hospital campus provides an atmosphere of inclusivity, where both able-bodied and handicapped athletes can lift weights, train on the cardio machines, shoot hoops, and play tennis and ping pong together. With more than 280 members since opening in January 2013, the Sports Center continues to grow. It currently offers members a variety of sports classes taught by the knowledgeable staff, and the offerings continue to expand each month. Basketball mini-camps and a summer league are scheduled to begin soon for both able-bodied and handicapped patrons. The inclusion of all athletes, regardless of physical ability, is the main goal of the Sports Center, and the staff continually witnesses able-bodied patrons’ perceptions of disability changing. The Sports Center is tearing down the walls that segregate handicapped Haitians from the rest of society.
All of us at THHT thank you for your continued giving. You are a vital component of our mission to empower Haitians living with disabilities!
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