The Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) and the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) have signed an MOU that will see the two organisations work closely together to improve the lives of people with an impairment across Asia.
The MOU identifies areas where collaboration between the two organisations can have a direct impact on people with an impairment from job creation projects designed to increase financial independence, providing medical services and equipment, to working together to encourage Asian Governments to renew and update their legislation in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol.
Through the network of NPCs, the ERC will gain access to local knowledge on the needs and existing provision for people with an impairment and this can help shape their action plans for specific countries. Recognising that human resource is a barrier for all parties, including NPCs, the MOU commits to the creation of a shared database of volunteers that can be called upon to help with activities ranging from humanitarian projects to the staging of sporting events.
The impetus for the MOU came following a series of meetings that the APC held recently with the Asian National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on them and their athletes. The meetings highlighted that the economic impact of the pandemic in some countries has been devastating, effectively removing the casual work that has allowed athletes to generate an income whilst training. The economic hardship on top of the pre-existing need for equipment and accessible infrastructure prompted the APC to reach out to the ERC to see what practical, on the ground support can be given.
APC President Majid Rashed commented: “At our initial meeting with UAE Red Crescent, it was clear that both organisations have a shared goal to improve the lives of people with an impairment across the region.
Whilst the ERC’s mission is to work with all vulnerable people, it is a sad truth that living with an impairment means your life is much more precarious. People with an impairment are more likely to live in poverty with fewer opportunities to access work and education and with greater health needs. In fact, the UN estimates that almost 60% of the world’s 650 million persons with disabilities live in Asia.
“We know that, as well delivering health and well-being benefits, sport can be a great force to raise awareness of people with an impairment and drive inclusion. The Paralympic Movement is making people with an impairment more visible and driving social change as a result. With our NPCs we can help UAE Red Crescent understand the situation on the ground across Asia, and can identify projects that will have tangible benefits for all people with an impairment.”
The agreement was signed on behalf of the ERC by their Secretary General, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi. He stated that the MOU stemmed from the two organisations’ desire to work together on their shared ambition to enhance the services provided to people with an impairment across Asia. On behalf of the ERC, he welcomed the partnership with the APC and expressed their appreciation for the work that the APC does in promoting and supporting people with an impairment to achieve their aspirations in all areas of life.
The MOU will run initially for two years and will be reviewed on an annual basis. The first actions to be undertaken will be to create the shared database of volunteers and for the APC to review the list of existing UAE Red Crescent projects to determine which ones the APC can assist with.