HAITI DREAM ONE YEAR ON
Thank you for your interest and tremendous support last year. We are delighted to be able to tell you about the legacy that you have enabled.
1. UPDATE FROM THE NEW INCLUSIVE SPORTS CENTRE IN CAP HAITIEN
Le Centre Sportif has been open for almost 9 months now and has been a tremendous success. The Centre was built with support from the United Nations and provides the opportunity for people from all walks of Haitian society to come together, train and have fun. It is the only gym that provides free access to people with a disability who wish to participate in sport.
The Centre currently has 269 members! They travel from towns and villages all over the north of Haiti to use the facilities. The Centre has one member who travels from Port au Prince, 200km away, as he says it is the best gym in the country.
The Centre provides access to sports like wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, tennis and boccia. There are regular classes run by the coaching staff, led by Leon and Fritzner.
Leon Gaisli is well, working as a coach at the Centre. He and Fritzner have been trained in using the equipment by a gym specialist from the US. They were then supervised for three months by three Canadian sports therapists.
The Centre has enough members to cover its operating costs which is a great testament to the enthusiasm of the Centre manager, Senatus. The Centre is an amazing legacy to leave in the north of Haiti and we plan to continue supporting its growth and success.
Leon has been a powerful inspiration to patients in the spinal unit. A teenage boy, who broke his back falling out of a tree, has been supported on the unit this year. He was deeply depressed and unresponsive to care, refusing to get out of bed as he felt his life was over. Leon started to visit and encourage him and now he is the first up and out on to the basket ball pich every morning for training!
Update on the handcycling team: Disability Sport for Development (whose campaign is ‘The Dream’) has provided funds for Fritzner to train for his goal of reaching the world championship later this year.
2. THE DOCUMENTARY ‘WORTHLESS’
Whilst many people with disabilities in Haiti are called ‘worthless’, out of the ashes grew a ‘dream’, to show Haiti what people with disabilities can achieve, challenging a nation and the world.
We are in the process of producing a documentary called ‘Worthless’ which follows the touching story of Leon and his friends as they seek to help him become one of the first Haitians to compete in the Paralympics.
The Athletes have competed!
Josue Cajuste: Friday 31/08/12 at 10: 30 am in F42 Shot put
Friday 07/09/12 at 11:30 am in F42 Javelin
Nephtalie Jean Louis: Thursday 06/09/12 at 18:30 in F57 Javelin
Saturday 08/09/12 at 09:30 am in F57 Shot put
Leon Gaisli: Wednesday 05/09/12 at 4:30 pm H3 Road cycling Time Trial at Brands Hatch.
Friday 07/09/12 at 14:00 pm H3 Road hand-cycling Road Race at Brands Hatch
Cajuste, Nephtalie and Leon were all received magnificently by the watching crowds. They gave their all in every event. Cajuste and Nephtalie threw personal bests in each of their events. All the athletes have returned to Haiti with the intention of working hard to improve and build towards Rio in 2016.
The Dream was launched on the 15th September 2011 with a series of events held throughout London to connect with Members of Parliament, supporters, corporate partners and the media with an invitation to join this exciting and potentially historic moment.
Since then, a large handful of fundraising events have taken place across London and Kent, raising funds through individual donations and partnerships to support athletes’ costs in Haiti and in the UK, to secure the TV rights to broadcast the Paralympics in Haiti, and to provide long term inclusive sports infrastructure. We have been working alongside the Wooldridge family who have been heavily involved in our public fundraising campaign for The Dream, holding events amongst the West Peckham community (Kent), Sevenoaks Rugby Club (Kent) and two in London at The Grange Hotel, St Paul’s.
Anne’s Trip to Haiti
Working on the ground with Haiti Hopsital Appeal, BMS World Mission and Global Hand, Anne Wafula Strike visited Haiti in June this year., Together, they aimed to document the situation as it stands in relation to disability, inspire athletes and challenge communities to be more inclusive towards disabled people. Anne Wafula Strike is a world- class wheelchair sprinter representing Team GB and the first East African to compete in the Paralympic Games. HHA’s rehabilitation team support over 100 families with disabled children. Through community groups, visits to schools and chuches and hands on coaching and training, Anne has the opportunity to inspire hope and demonstrate the power of sport to the people of Haiti. The team worked with The Dream’s Paralympic hopefuls Leon and Cajuste to capture their journey to London and Anne trained along side them: Click here to follow this story further.
For the Olympic period, Haiti has it own Olympic house hosted by John McAslan and Partners. Filled with Haitian talent, art, fashion and jewellery from this extraordinary country, the exhibition space was the perfect place to host our evening with United Haitians UK, celebrating Haiti’s athletes and representation this summer. For the first time, Haiti has an Olympic and Paralympic team and together they were met by people in London who all have their hearts in Haiti. Samyr Laine and Marlena Wesh from Haiti’s Olympic team were there to share their experiences with Paralympians Josue Cajuste and Nephtalie Jean Louis. It was a special night bringing together individuals, charities and companies who all care for the country, its people and sport.
Athletes Arrival in London
Haiti’s paralympians, Nephtalie and Cajuste arrived on the 10th August with assistant coaches from Port au Prince, Haiti. Staying with members of United Haitians UK, the team will move to the Olympic Village next week. Now settled in, the team have been training at Woodside Stadium in Watford and the elite performance gym at Hertfordshire Universities Sports Village, where they do their strength and conditioning work.
Training comprises of three mornings technical throwing and two mornings’ of strength and conditioning, with 5 evenings of gentle exercises to keep them supple. Head Coach Malcolm Wallace states “I am very impressed with the team’s commitment to putting extra time in to improve their performances”.
Nephtalie and Cajuste will both be competing in Shot put and Javelin this summer.
The construction of the Sport Centre at HaitiHopsitalAppeal is well on its way to a grand opening in October this year, as the Paralympics draws to a close. Because of its inclusive nature, sport can be a powerful tool to break down the stigma that surrounds disability. Based in Cap-Haitien, it will provide sporting opportunities to those with disabilities alongside those without; for rehabilitation, community use and competitive opportunities, leading the way forward in inclusive sport in the north of the country. To enable it to prosper, we are looking to support the Centre into the future; providing coaches, physios, equipment, maintenance and a vehicle once it is open.
See our blog at thehaitidream.wordpress.com ,which gives you our up to date news from The Dream HQ. As the Paralympics is just around the corner, it is all happening here! Drop us a line at email@example.com to subscribe to our newsletter updates.