Doha: The Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) officially launched the ‘Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire’, a pioneering Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme that benefits people with disabilities, at the indoor swimming pool in Aspire Dome.
The programme offers aquatics training — swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling lessons — for differently abled people of all ages
The programme was founded by two volunteer coaches, Kathleen Bates and Jojo Musa, from non-profit organisation Freestyle Aquatics, and is sponsored by D-Adapt and Sasol’s Accessible Qatar — an award-winning initiative focused on raising awareness and improving the accessibility of venues across the country.
D-Adapt, a participating partner in the programme, is a trademark of Al Diyar Agency that understands the needs of people with limited mobility and adapt solutions to improve their lives in terms of accessibility.
Together with AZF, they hope to help people with disabilities lead healthier lifestyles, overcome stereotypes, have active roles in their communities, and be respected as equal members of the society.
In his welcoming remarks, AZF Chief Marketing Officer Mohammed Mubarak Al Kuwari said: “Sports has the ability to unite us all, regardless of age or physical ability. At Aspire Zone, we believe that everyone should have access to the power of sports, and to our world-class facilities. We launched the Disability Challengers programme to ensure that people with disabilities are able to reach their highest sporting potential.”
He added, “We want Disability Challengers to get involved in AZF sporting activities throughout the year, and we are collaborating with organisations such as the Qatar Paralympic Committee and Freestyle Aquatics to make that happen. Today, we are proud to add Sasol’s Accessible Qatar initiative and D-Adapt to our growing list of partners.”
Commenting on their support to the programme, Maurice Radebe, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Sasol said: “At Sasol, we believe that accessibility is essential to building an inclusive society, and recognise that sport is an area where accessibility can have the greatest impact on the physical and mental health of people with disabilities. We are delighted to join hands with Aspire Zone, Freestyle Aquatics, and D-Adapt to make this programme possible.
“The Accessible Qatar initiative is part of our commitments to make Qatar an international leader when it comes to accessibility, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Freestyle Aquatics co-founder, coach Jojo Musa, added: “We wanted to provide aquatics lessons to people with disabilities to help them challenge themselves and achieve great results. Swimming can help develop and improve their self-esteem and confidence, helps them overcome their physical disabilities, and shows them and others that anyone can accomplish anything once they set their mind to it.”
During the opening ceremony, AZF and its partners Sasol and D-Adapt uncovered a wheelchair lift that will help people with disabilities access the pool areas in an easy and safe fashion.
Meanwhile, Abdulrahman Al Yafi, a participant at Freestyle Aquatics at Aspire for more than two months, said: “I’m glad to be part of the official launch of the programme, which has benefited me a lot. The personal trainers tend to the participants throughout the training session, and I believe that people with disabilities would benefit greatly from the programme.”
This programme is part of AZF’s CSR initiatives, and it builds on AZF’s existing efforts to help provide people with disabilities with as many opportunities to practice their favourite sports throughout the year.
Accessible Qatar hosts expertly-audited data and user-submitted reviews of tourist locations and venues across Qatar on an easy-to-use website and mobile app. By downloading the Accessible Qatar App, the disabled community and tourists can move with confidence throughout Doha and meet their accessibility needs.