The founders of Angels Aquatic foundation have been hailed for a bold step towards inclusion of children with disabilities in Swimming.
The Foundation was launched this week at the Elite Swim and Gym, a new high performance Sports centre in Ntinda.
The Foundation targets to provide accessible sporting facilities for children with disabilities.
Mrs. Hitesh Usadadiya is one of the founders, together with her husband and the son Heer Hitesh Usadadiya.
She said that the name of the foundation is derived from their belief that all these special kids they have, either intellectual or physical, are all angels.
“We need to give them a platform to go out there, do Sports like any other children and they should be judged according to their abilities,” she stated.
“We have few that are physically or intellectually disabled but they are always judged with abled children. This foundation will standup with them and we would like to see them going to international levels in the next five years.
“I am calling upon the corporate world for sponsors, partnerships, schools and parents to come out and support these children.
“They are trained for free, I would love to call upon many parents to come and bring their children to get the full training.”
The Foundation will also move to offer adaptive sports programs, Partner with disability organizations training, Educating staff and coaches.
Government Chief Whip Hon Hamson Obua who is a former Minister of State for Sports, commended the proprietors of the Foundation for their investment, adding that the swimming pool for not only for children with disability but also for other able swimmers.”
He advised the disabled children to change the narrative from a bad attitude to a positive mindset.
“From your disability there is something you can achieve. Many have achieved and you can achieve as well. They have given you the platform and it’s your time to excel.
“We have to laud the people in our private sector for putting in place such an investment that is complimenting the efforts of government.”
“For us we grew up in areas where we learnt swimming from swamps when we are doing fishing, athletes like John Aki-bua borrowed shoes to compete in 1972 Olympics, and that never stopped him from winning a gold medal.
“Now you are priviliged to have such a good facility. Just know it’s possible whether you are able or disabled, from a humble background or a good background, it’s possible. We are what we are because of the grace of God.”
Minister of State for Disability said that she knows what parents go through when they have children with disabilities.
“My own mother missed a marriage because of me, I got Polio when I was still very young. My father said that I don’t produce such, take her away, and I struggled through with my mother up to where God has brought me.”
“In Uganda, issues of disability are still backward, and people take us for granted. We don’t need sympathy, we need empathy. Give us our chance and we shall show the world.
“I want to appreciate the parents who have accepted to bring their children here.
“Government of Uganda has taken some steps we even amended the children’s act to recognise children with disability. Issues of accessibility are always catered for by the law.”
Minister of State for youth and Children’s Affairs Sarah Mateke, High Commissioner of India to Uganda Upender Singh Rawat, Presidential Advisior Sam Engola, NCS Chairman Ambrose Tashobya among others attended the event.