Malawi Paralympic Committee has appealed to people with disabilities in the country to participate in sporting disciplines to improve their mental and physical fitness.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, Malawi Paralympic Committee vice-president, Joseph Galanje, said sports is also good for human health as it helps to overcome stress and boredom.
However, he bemoaned lack of interest in sporting activities among people with disabilities.
Said Galanje: “As a committee, we try as much as possible to encourage people with disabilities to participate in different sporting activities.
“This is why every year, our teams do participate in Paralympic games though we would have loved the numbers to be higher than is the case now.”
He said apart from health-related merit, people with disabilities could be earning a living through sports.
“There are always sports competitions where people with disabilities could be generating money for a living,’’ said Galanje.
He said the committee is currently working with the Ministry of Education and parents to encourage people with disabilities to participate in sporting activities.
“In order to develop sports for persons with disabilities, we have embarked on a project called Para sport against stigma where 65 primary schools nationwide are participating.
“Para sport against stigma looks at how representation, education and communication can break down barriers to stigma on persons living with disabilities,” said Galanje.
He, therefore, called for proper and disability-friendly structures where people with disabilities could engage in sporting activities.
Malawi Council of the Handicapped (Macoha) spokesperson Harriet Kachimanga said the organisation encourages community members to include persons living with disabilities in various activities including sports.
He said: “We have Kamuzu Vocational and Rehabilitation Training Centre where students with disabilities learn different skills and on every Friday they take part in sporting activities.
“Those with potential are, therefore, referred to Malawi Paralympic Committee to take part in much bigger competitions.”
Depending on the type of disability, some of the games people with disabilities may participate in include bawo, chess, draughts, netball, football, basketball and pool.
Malawi Paralympic Committee is a body responsible for sports for persons with disabilities and is an affiliate to Malawi National Council of Sports.