The month of April is dedicated to educate and share the realities of living with limb difference and limb loss. And this year campaign’s main concern is mobility with the aim to encourage people with limb impairments to get more active.
Limb Loss in Cambodia
Today, Cambodia remains one of the most landmine-impacted country in the world. According to the HALO trust, 64,000 casualties and over 25,000 amputees have been recorded since 1979. It is the highest ratio per capita in the world. And today, even though the country has opened up to tourism and enjoys a very dynamic economic growth, the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge resurface when landmines explode. These dramatic accidents are still one of the leading causes of physical disability in Cambodia. Landmine survivors encounter many difficulties regarding access to health services, education or professional trainings. Access to sports activities is also very difficult.
Indeed, people with limb impairment have to overcome various barriers in order to take part in physical activities. First of all, they have to face a lack of accessible equipment and facilities. Not all sports centers have specialized staff or programmes available for people with physical impairment. Added to this, they are some logistical barriers including geography isolation and the potential expenses (transport, equipment) of taking part in sports activities. Finally, the psychological barrier -lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem as well as negative body image or fear of the perception of others- prevents many people from even considering taking part in a physical activity and sport.
Sports’ great benefits
However, sports can be a key element in improving people with physical disability’s well-being. Indeed, it is a way to improve the players’ motricity while helping them develop soft skills such as self-discipline, leadership or team spirit. Parasports teams are also great for creating support networks in which all the players can interact confidently. For all these reasons, we promote the positive benefits of staying active through different adaptive sportive activities in Cambodia. And, as a matter of fact, two players of the wheelchair basketball team we initiated are landmine survivors and have had their leg amputated. But this did not prevent them from being selected for Cambodia’s National Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Team!
Bel and Sorn Son, two landmine survivors and wheelchair basketball champions