US Ambassador to Uganda launches USAID's Sports for Youth with Disabilities with BlazeSports

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KAMPALA, Uganda - Jan. 20, 2017 - PRLog -- U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah R. Malac will officially launch USAID's Sports for Youth with Disabilities Initiative during an Adaptive Sports Summit on January 20, 2017 in Kampala. The two-day Summit – a key component of the initiative – convenes key leaders and stakeholders committed to improving the lives of children and youth with disabilities in Uganda. The three-year initiative is led by BlazeSports International and the Uganda Paralympic Committee and made possible due to the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ambassador Malac noted that, "Right now, nearly 2.5 million Ugandan children – more than 13 percent overall – live with some form of disability. If Uganda is to meet its development potential, we need to provide opportunities to help these children become productive and valued members of society. And we can start by working together to make these children healthier, more physically active, and more empowered in their everyday lives."

The Adaptive Sports Summit will be held January 19-20, 2017 in Kampala at the Sports View Hotel. The Summit will convene leaders in fields related to disability, sport and physical activity, including community-based organizations, schools and government agencies. Participants will draft a Call to Action Plan at the Summit, which aims to contribute to improved physical activity, participation, inclusion and physical literacy among Ugandan children with physical disabilities, especially girls.

Mpindi Bumali, President of the Uganda National Paralympic Committee and main in-country partner said, "The Plan will build on Uganda's current strengths and gaps related to inclusion and access to adaptive sport programs. It will identify strategies for various sectors to work together to improve children's health in Uganda." Once completed, the Plan will be shared widely with a focus on gathering support from various leaders to take on various aspects of the Plan. A second Summit will be held in 2019 to document project results and implementation of the Plan.

"BlazeSports International is honored to be working with USAID/Uganda, the Uganda National Paralympic Committee and other in-country leaders to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion and ultimately improve access to quality inclusive sport and physical activity programs for kids with disabilities, especially girls, in the country," said Cynthia Frisina, Executive Director of BlazeSports.

USAID's Sports for Youth with Disabilities Initiative is a 36-month sport development and health project in Kampala and Gulu. The project's goal is to contribute to the improved physical literacy and the increased inclusion of children with physical disabilities in sport and recreation programs in the community. Physical literacy is the ability, confidence and desire to be physically active for life. This is a growing movement across the globe linked to better health, prevention of chronic health conditions, and improved physical activity.

The initiative will host eight training workshops from 2017-2019 that equip 240 local leaders in Uganda on inclusive strategies to engage youth with physical disabilities through sport and activity. Trainings hosted in Kampala and Gulu will be followed by inclusive sports festivals for the children with and without disabilities (reaching nearly 1,000 children) as an opportunity for trained leaders to implement learned skills and to promote positive messaging regarding individuals with physical disabilities.

About BlazeSports International
A legacy organization of the 1996 Paralympic Games hosted in Atlanta, BlazeSports International is a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers children and adults with physical disabilities through adaptive sport and recreation. As a USAID registered Private Voluntary Organization, BlazeSports International has worked alongside project partners to launch new sport for social change initiatives and strengthen existing programs in Brazil, Egypt, Haiti, Jordan, Russia, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.

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