How playing wheelchair football is improving my life

 

For Nita*, a 17 year-old student, finding opportunities to play wheelchair football in Cambodia isn’t easy. But ISF’s inclusive Football Programme has beginning to change that.

Nita recently attended our All Abilities Football Tournament at the ISF Sports Ground in Preah Theat Village, Phnom Penh and took a few minutes out to tell us more about what football and tournaments like this mean to her:

“When I was younger I liked to play football but because I use a wheelchair I didn’t have many opportunities to do so. Fortunately now it’s different – ISF coaches offer training sessions once a week on Saturdays.  I really like my coaches, they make me feel like I’m complete as I am and they give me an opportunity to have fun.

Football has also offered me opportunities to meet new people; for example, at today’s All Abilities Tournament, we started by playing a game where we passed the ball to each other and introduced ourselves. Meeting new people and participating in tournaments like this is really important to me. I wish for even more tournaments in the future. Not only do I get to meet other players but I get a chance to play football on the beautiful pitch at the ISF Sports Ground. My parents are pleased too, they’ve welcomed the opportunity for me to socialise more and get involved in community activities.

Since joining the ISF’s Football Programme, I’ve learned how to play the game properly and am generally having a lot more fun than before. Playing sport gives me energy and I feel like I can concentrate and do my homework better after playing. It also has given me more confidence in myself, I feel braver and no longer feel as stressed and sad as I used to.

I think people worry about me because I use a wheelchair. Often, they’ll keep asking me if I’m doing okay during a match because t