Beninese Wheelchair Basketball Team 3Life in a wheelchair is overwhelming, no matter where you live. Add to that the challenge of living in a small African country far from the state-of-the-art technology available to disabled individuals in the U.S. In July 2015, the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy (UCCD) hosted a group of disabled international visitors from a handful of small African countries including Benin, Burkino Faso and Lesotho. This exchange was administered by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. During a visit with the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT) their visit became life-changing.

Through an incredible act of kindness and goodwill, UCAT gifted two wheelchairs to Mr. Abdel Ouorou Bare for his Beninese wheelchair basketball team and took the time to tune up an electric wheelchair for Mr. Ismael Traore, from Burkina Faso. They then provided new wheels and modifications to a wheelchair to meet the specific needs of Mr. Sanghone Diop, from Senegal. As the group’s liaison stated, “They had never experienced this sort of kindness on the part of strangers … they will not forget this experience, ever.”

Thanks in part to this generosity, the Beninese team went on to play in a wheelchair basketball tournament sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Cotonou using the wheelchairs that were donated to them by UCAT.

At the Heart of Our Community are people like Abdel Ouorou Bare and the Beninese wheelchair basketball team and organizations like the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy (UCCD) and the Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT), where the goal is to offer information and technical services to help people with disabilities acquire and use assistive technology devices.

It’s what makes Our Community great!

For more information about the programs of UCCD or UCAT or to volunteer or donate visit: http://utahdiplomacy.org/ or http://ucat.usor.utah.gov/

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