We are committed to assisting those with disabilities in Haiti to be able to participate in sports and other leisure activities enhancing their quality of life. Participating in sports activities is a way to build friendships and self esteem, provide exercise and promote teamwork for everyone. For those with disabilities, it means so much more. They realize they are not alone, that there is hope and life after an often devastating experience. It provides social support and inclusion opportunities.
There are challenges with participating in adaptive sports everywhere but even more when living in a low resourced country. Getting around Haiti in a wheelchair is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Many areas are impassable. There are no handicap accessible buses, no ramps or lifts. roads are in poor condition or are just plain dirt and rock. Just try to imagine trying to get place to place in a wheelchair or on crutches. Our goal is to purchase a vehicle to help with transportation of players who use wheelchair or crutches to work and practice.
The Team Zaryen Amputee Soccer Team was founded by Wilfrid Macena and Cedieu Fortilus after the 2010 earthquake when hundreds in Haiti needed to have limbs amputated due to severe injuries or wounds that would not heal. Zaryen, the Creole word for Tarantula, is a spider known to carry on despite the loss of a limb. This fitting name describes the passion of the team and their vision to expand its mission beyond soccer. This team wants to send a message of hope to all who are disabled that they can carry on and be successful in Haiti.
Currently, only 2 members of Team Zaryen have a formal job. They are unable to support themselves and are often homeless and hungry. These sports programs give them a sense of belonging and an opportunity to be successful. The Haiti Rehab Project shop and outreach programs give them an opportunity to work, give back to their communities, and give hope to others.
Team Zaryen soccer is for all people with an amputated arm or leg in Haiti who want to play soccer and includes, men, women and children. When possible the team travel throughout the country playing competitive soccer against other amputee soccer teams in Haiti.
In September of 2013, the Team Zaryen Wheelchair basketball team was created. Meet Cator, Karasco, Carl, and Junior. These amazing men have suffered from spinal cord injuries, amputations and multiple traumas but still continue to carry on! Also, in picture is Coach Cedieu Fortilus (in the blue shirt). Creating this team alone is an incredible accomplishment. Finding a place to practice is another feat. They practice now on a street but often cars are parked in the way. Come back soon to see our progress in our efforts to support this team.