Mali: “In the past, people just saw us as the needy”

09 August 2018
Mali: “In the past, people just saw us as the needy”
Djèfani makes rattan furniture in the hangar renovated by the ICRC. CC-BY-NC-ND / ICRC

Sidi Diallo, known as Djèfani, is married, father to eight children, and physically disabled. To put money on the table, he makes rattan furniture. But outside work, Djèfani has another passion in which he excels: parasport powerlifting.

Parasports, or adaptive sports, are sports that have been modified so that they can be played by disabled people, and some, such as wheelchair basketball and para judo, have become not only leisure activities but competitive sports too. But without a weights room, Djèfani and his friends could not easily practise a sport that means so much to them. That's where the ICRC comes in.

Our physical rehabilitation services enable people like Djèfani to regain their mobility and play an active role in society.

The ICRC, in consultation with the Malian Federation of Disability Sport (FEMASH), has funded the building of sporting infrastructure such as gyms, basketball courts and tatami mat flooring for judo. We have also funded the renovation of FEMASH's headquarters and the building of a hangar and workshop for disabled people.

As a result, more people are playing these sports and disabled craftsmen are earning more too. "I work in the workshop making furniture and I display my chairs in the hangar, out of the rain. And in the new gym, I train for competitions and coach both disabled and able-bodied powerlifters," says Djèfani.

5,672 disabled people received physical rehabilitation services in four ICRC-supported centres between January and June 2018.