ParalympicsGB 2012 athlete Ben Quilter has been announced as a new Ambassador for Sightsavers and is appearing in a new video for the charity. He joins Paralympic five-a-side football team captain Dave Clarke in addition to athletes from Ghana, Jamaica and Uganda to highlight the urgent need for people with disabilities to be included in world discussions about global poverty, to ensure equal access to essential healthcare, education and employment opportunities.
A short film capturing the voices of some of the world’s top Paralympians competing in London 2012 has been launched by Sightsavers International.
In many ways it looks like disabled athletes could be one of the big stories to come out of London 2012: from the success of Im Dong-hyun (who broke an archery world record despite being registered blind) and Oscar Pistorius (the first double amputee to compete as a track athlete) in the Olympic Games; through to the agreement by Royal Mail to give all Team GB Paralympic
gold medal winners the same stamp-and-postbox treatment that their able-bodied peers received; to the expected record audiences for the Paralympic events in the country where the competition was first staged. Overall, there has been a huge amount of focus on the things disabled people can achieve and the contributions they make.
This is echoed in the ‘Relay4Equality’ video, in which the athletes talk about all the things they are capable of doing – from cooking to winning medals.
World champion judoist and Sightsavers ambassador Ben Quilter, who is visually impaired, talks about his disability in positive terms: “The opinions and thoughts of disabled people need to be heard in the fight against global poverty, which is
why I’m asking the public to share this video and spread the word.”
Sylvia Grant is also clearly a pretty determined person, stressing she ‘needs’ a medal at London 2012 despite already having 20 or so to her name.
At the end of the video, the athletes talk about ‘a big global conversation about poverty’. This is the process to decide what will replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. The MDGs were agreed in 2000. Among the aims is to reduce extreme poverty by half, and to increase access to services such as healthcare and education for the poorest people in the world.
The film is available to view at www.sightsavers.org/relay4equality. Over a billion people worldwide have a disability, with 80% living in developing countries and Sightsavers’ work is focused on changing the lives of disabled people by supporting education and training for people with visual impairments, and advocating for their social inclusion and equal rights.