Enabled and independent
The event is specifically hosted for people who are wheelchair bound as a result of a road crashes. The MVA Fund organises the event bringing together crash survivors with permanent disabilities from various towns across the country for a sporting, competitive yet fun-filled event.
According to Stephen Tjiuoro, The Fund’s Chief of Corporate Affairs, MVA Fund initiated the wheelchair fun ride in 2009 as part of the institution’s rehabilitation programme, specifically looking at the social aspect of rehabilitation through integration.
“Our ultimate aim is to ensure that every person injured in a road crash is successfully rehabilitated and that they return to work or independence in the shortest possible time. The fund is committed to enhance the quality of life of people living with disability. One of these efforts is our partnership with the Ministry of Health through which the fund has donated medical and rehabilitation equipment to the ministry worth over N$3million to improve access to treatment and rehabilitation services of persons injured in motor vehicle crashes,” said Tjiuoro.
Part of the objectives of the fun ride is also to bring about social change by drawing attention to the challenges faced by people in wheelchairs and people with disabilities in general and advocate for the removal of barriers to their development and progress in society.
In her keynote speech, Member of Parliament, Hon. Alexia Ncube reiterated the urgency to escalate issues of disability to the national agenda in order to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities.
“We would like to see the rights of people with disabilities not only enshrined in national and corporate strategies, but actually enforced and respected.”
The MP voiced her disappointment with the Disability Council which two years after it was established still does not have a board of directors.
“This is only happening because it involves people with disabilities and no-one is taking this seriously” says Ncube. She saluted the MVA Fund for the work it does to assist people with disabilities in general and those resulting from road crashes.
”Through events such as the Wheelchair Fun Ride, you give people with disabilities an opportunity for social integration and to inspire each other. On the most basic level, this event allows us all to enjoy the special camaraderie experienced only through sport,” she added.
The event was also graced by Namibia’s latest sport sensation, Paralympic gold medallist, Johanna Benson who motivated people with disabilities and encouraged them not to let disability prevent them from living life to the fullest.
“Clearly disabilities can be obstacles. However, it does not mean you should give up on the precious gift of life. My personal opinion about disability is that everyone is disabled. It just so happens that there are certain groups whose disabilities are more obvious than others,” said Benson.
The Wheelchair Fun Ride kicked off with a race and different sport games such as basketball and volleyball by the wheelchair users and members of the public and culminated in a gala dinner at Thüringerhof Hotel.