WHAT WE DO
The Dream is an international campaign to encourage positive change in attitudes and behaviour towards people with disabilities in Haiti through supporting Haiti’s first ever competing Paralympic team, including post earthquake survivors, to London 2012 Paralympic Games.
From its launch, the Dream has been working with potential paralympians based in Haiti. We have been with them in Mexico, supporting the first Haitian handcycling team to compete in international competition. The Dream is committed to providing support for athletes and their goal to represent their country. This support has taken the form of coaching, accommodation, food, equipment and where needed, medical expenses.
Josue Cajuste, a javelin thrower from the Central Department of Haiti, has been talking to us about his feelings ahead of taking part in the Paralympics. He has spoken of his pride in competing and representing his country, and his hope of his countrymen seeing him and his teammates compete in London. The Dream has been working towards making this happen for Josue and other prospective Paralympic athletes from Haiti, such as Nephtalie Jean Louis and Leon.
Josue, Nephtalie and Leon (Haiti’s first handcyclist) have found sport to be an incredible tool for challenging stigma within Haiti, and for empowering persons with disabilities. Leon’s experience in Mexico competing at the Parapan games, has provided the foundation for a momentous campaign in Haiti. This has included Leon being identified and chosen by the UN’s community violence reduction team as “the face” of Cap Haitien (Haiti’s second largest city). The Handcycling team also spoke to over 3000 children at Haiti’s UN National Children’s Day.
Rather than persons with disabilities being socially excluded, we are hoping to put Leon and Cajuste in a position to lead a movement of change. The Dream is raising funds to purchase the television rights to the Paralympic Games this year with plans to donate them to Haiti’s national broadcaster. Our international campaign is preparing to create powerful Paralympic coverage and enthusiasm for the Games amongst Haitians all over the world. Through national and local broadcasting, large screen showings in city centres and in refugee camps across the country, the nation will be exposed to exceptional sporting performances by admirable national and international athletes. Through showing the reality of what people with disabilities can achieve in an elite global event, this opportunity can unite able bodied and disabled Haitians together and with the rest of the world. The Paralympic games will be shown to 3.6 billion people this year, more than ever before, and we hope to add the 10 million people of Haiti to this number.
Broadcasting the Paralympics for the first time is a memorable act towards a positive future in Haiti, opening the doors for para sporting opportunities in the country and bringing Haiti forward from the cataclysm of two years ago.
“London is just the start of the program being put into place, we now have a dream of establishing a network of coaches who are capable of making sure that sport is one of the key ways in which this disaster can become a success story for the many disabled people living within Haiti.” – Malcolm Wallace, Head Coach Haitian Paralympic Team.
The Dream aims to use the momentum gained from Haiti’s groundbreaking team this year to build towards long term change in Haiti. In partnership with the United Nation’s Community Violence Reduction team, Leon’s passion has been a key component in the securing of funding for the construction of a disability sport centre in North Haiti, which will develop grass roots sport, competitive training facilities and community integration. This will be completed by October 2012 and leave a lasting legacy in Haiti, in honour of the London 2012 games.
“The United Nation’s Community Violence Reduction team have formally collaborated with the Haiti Hospital Appeal in North Haiti, to leave a long term legacy for disability sport for 2012, through the construction of a disability sport facility. Inspired by the commitment and dedication of their team, and particularly Leon Gaisli, we have used his passion and dedication, for the advancement of disability sport as a means to challenge the northern population. His story has been a key component in this vision becoming a reality, providing hope, courage and vision for many people in Cap Haitien, seeking to eradicate the social stigma of disability.” Istvan Papp, Chief, North Haiti UN Community Violence Reduction Team
The Dream is looking to support this work on the ground. Our commitment is to provide funding for this centre, supplying coaches, physios, administration staff and equipment to leave a lasting legacy in the north of Haiti.
The Dream is committed to fighting the stigma of disability in Haiti and promoting a sustainable infrastructure for sport for all in the country.