‘Ambassadors of peace’: Amputee soccer affiliation brings collectively Sierra Leone’s civil conflict survivors | Mahaz News

Mahaz News

On a busy weekend in Freetown, Sierra Leone, dozens of individuals collect to observe a day soccer match not not like numerous others you’d discover anyplace else on this planet. But there’s one hanging distinction – these gamers are all amputees.

They’re members of the Single Leg Amputee Sports Association (SLASA), a company co-founded by pastor Mambud Samai in 2001 after he returned residence towards the tip of Sierra Leone’s lethal civil conflict, which lasted from 1991 to 2002 and killed at the least 50,000 folks throughout the nation. Thousands extra have been left with lacking limbs throughout a brutal marketing campaign to terrify the civilian inhabitants.

After coming throughout a refugee camp stuffed with a whole lot of amputees, Samai felt compelled to assist. “At that time, there were no activities like trauma recovery for them. So, amputees believed that once they lost their limbs and their legs, they have no future, they have no opportunity. So, I volunteered myself to give them confidence,” he mentioned.

While on the refugee camp, he met an American missionary who launched him to a type of adaptive soccer. After displaying the amputees play, the response was overwhelming and SLASA was shaped, “to give hope to the amputees, to give confidence to the amputees, and to allow them to become ambassadors of peace,” Samai mentioned.

Amputees in Sierra Leone play a form of adaptive football where outfielders can only have one leg and cannot use prosthetics in the game.

According to the World Amputee Football Federation, gamers can not use prosthetics and as an alternative energy throughout the sphere on crutches. Each workforce has seven gamers on the sphere at a time, with outfield gamers solely having one leg and goalkeepers solely having one arm.

Several SLASA gamers have since gone on to compete in worldwide applications together with the World Amputee Football Championships, Amputee Africa Cup of Nations, and the Open European Amputee Football Championship.

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“Most of them are now very proud that they can represent their country at international competitions,” Samai mentioned. “They are contributing something back to society.”

Samai says the game just isn’t solely type of train, but it surely unites gamers and serves as a “therapy” for conflict victims to face their shared trauma. “We try to give them hope and then give them the credibility that they are useful, they are important to society,” he mentioned.

Goalkeeper Ali Badara Kamara says he was given the opportunity to travel abroad through SLASA.

Ali Badara Kamara is a goalkeeper within the SLASA league. He says he’s grateful for the life-changing alternatives he’s acquired. “My mother was afraid (for) me to play football because she sees me as an amputee. She thought that if I fell on the floor, I would have another problem,” he says. “But SLASA (has) taken me to Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania.”

Kamara is likely one of the greater than 80 million folks with disabilities dwelling throughout the continent. According to the United Nations, that determine contains these with psychological well being circumstances, beginning defects and different bodily impairments. With assistive gadgets usually unavailable or unaffordable, many discover employment arduous to return by and are left begging on the streets.

While soccer matches solely final 90 minutes, Samai’s newest mission is to discover a method to assist amputees past the pitch.

“My passion (is) to make sure that every life, irrespective of your disability or irrespective of your background, that you are able to be happy and you are able to smile at the end of the day,” Samai mentioned.

Samai (left) meets with SLASA player Maxwell Fornah at the National Rehabilitation Center in Sierra Leone.

To obtain that, SLASA works carefully with the National Rehabilitation Center in Sierra Leone and companions with worldwide organizations like SwissLimbs to offer prosthetics for amputees and prepare native technicians.

In 2018, Samai traveled to Japan to check sustainable agriculture management and neighborhood improvement. Upon his return, he started providing courses on sustainable agriculture by means of SLASA.

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SLASA additionally assesses members’ schooling and supplies studying assets to these in want. Its aim is to get extra amputees off the streets and supply them with a protected technique to make a dwelling for themselves and their households.

To date, Samai says SLASA has instantly assisted 350 amputees, and hopes to develop that quantity. The final aim is to construct a regulation pitch and rehabilitation heart of its personal.

“We want Sierra Leone to compete with another countries in terms of development,” Samai mentioned. “We believe that disabled people should not be left behind.”

Watch the complete episode of African Voices that includes Mambud Samai right here.

Source web site: www.cnn.com

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