CARITAS HUE: ENSURING THAT "NO ONE WILL BE LEFT BEHIND"
On December 3rd, 2020, Caritas Hue organized an expanded sport program to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities at the playground of the Continuing Education Center of Thua Thien, Hue Province. The festival brought together more than 200 people with disabilities, parents of people with disabilities, collaborators, and volunteer students. Participating organizations included the Nước Ngọt Phu Loc Center, led by the sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate; the Be-lem Phu Luong Shelter, operated by the Daughters of Mary Visit; the Hoa Huong Duong Club of Caritas Hue; and the Disabled Children Center of the Long Tho Pagoda and children at Kim Doi Parish.
The festival started with the introduction of participating units and a welcome from the Chairman of Hoa Huong Duong Club, representing the Organizing Committee, who shared the meaning of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities: “International Day of People with Disabilities is held on December 3rd every year to encourage the full and equal participation of people with disabilities,” he explained, “and to act for the inclusion and development of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. Disability inclusion is an essential condition to uphold human rights, sustainable development, peace and security. It is also an important commitment of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so that ‘no one will be left behind’. Integrating those with disabilities is an urgent task.”
After the opening session, the children enjoyed a number of activities: football, Bocce, track and field, tug of war, painting, and a cultural exchange under the guidance of collaborators from Caritas Hue.
Despite their physical limitations, the students exhibited the spirit of play, sports, and the arts to the best of their ability.
Throughout the day, it became clear that festival participants appreciated the social connections and fun of the games, regardless of whether they won or lost. The inclusive and supportive atmosphere of the festival allowed them to enjoy being teammates and competitors, defined for one day by what they can do, rather than by what they cannot do.
The young artists presented their work to the festival. Many elaborated on a theme of gratitude, depicting those who love, care for, and teach them. Others expressed a poignant but understandable desire to overcome their disabilities: dreams of becoming an athlete in spite of dysfunctional legs, dreams of becoming a teacher in spite of mental disabilities, dreams of becoming an artist, despite shaking hands. Improbable as these may be, the children can still achieve the dream of living in harmony with and contributing to their community. They are members of families and of society, equal in their rights as citizens and equally precious in the eyes of God.
At the conclusion of the festival the Organizing Committee presented gifts to the students and attendees, including notebooks, pens, masks and a tube of Vitamin C, along with heartfelt messages: wishing them continued opportunities to learn and to practice, health and wellbeing in a year marked by disease and floods, and that each of them might achieve their dreams.
The Organizing Committee would like to congratulate all children who participated, their parents, and send early Christmas wishes. Thanks are owed to the organization of the Special Olympics, the Center for Continuing Education of Thua Thien Hue Province, and to all of the collaborators and volunteer students, not only for a successful festival, but for all of the support that they offer every day.
We wish everyone health, peace and happiness in the love of the Child Jesus.