On November 5, Monday, ENGAGE conducted a sharing program in Aloft Kathmandu Thamel with two international wheelchair basketball coaches, Paul Bowes and Michael Rosenkrantz
The event started off at 5:45pm with a heartfelt vote of thanks given to all who were present. Among them, some notable people apart from Mike and Paul were Gayatri Dahal, the former President of National Spinal Cord Injury Sports Association (NSCISA), Jagadish Shrestha of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and Abdulla Tuncer Kececi, the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines. The main purpose of the event was to spread awareness about the capabilities of people with disability.
Gayatri Dahal, the former President of NSCISA, recalls that NSCISA was initially made up of 7 members and only used to look after people with a spinal disability. Now she is proud to say that NSCISA has evolved into having 60 members and opens its arms to people with all kinds of disability. The organisation helps disabled people get their life back together with the help of sports; mainly basketball. Currently there are 8 boys’ and 6 girls’ wheelchair basketball teams which are a far-cry from the single team they used to have in the past. She remembers feeling a mixture of devastation and embarrassment at 12 when she became disabled which continued on till later, but then she realised how being disabled did not mean that she had any capabilities less than able-bodied people. So, she started wheelchair basketball training in NSCISA with the support of many which gradually motivated and uplifted everyone involved.
“The players are the special ones, not us coaches.”, says Paul Bowes, one of the most skilful adaptive-sport coaches when his accomplishments were being listed out. “To have that amount of courage and patience to learn and do something is amazing and it shows that these people have capabilities to do more. Hats off to them.” Mike added that the world would be a better place if we all extended help towards each other instead of just putting ourselves first. Mike also quipped how adaptive sports had helped disabled war veterans cope with the aftermaths of war. Both coaches were full of thanks to the people who had supported them but most of all they were thankful to the players for not giving up. They both believed that nothing is impossible, because with just a touch of creativity there is nothing a person cannot accomplish.
On November 7, Wednesday, the wheelchair basketball training camp ended with enthused basketball matches and a rousing closing ceremony .