13 August 2008

the cambodian disabled volleyball team is not afraid of you and it will beat your ass

[ WARNING: This post has nothing to do with bikes. ]

Some of you know that I spent some time in Cambodia. My sister went long: She spent over 5 years in the country, during which time she co-founded a grassroots micro-loan organization primarily benefiting disabled people. So I've got some insights into the country that I wouldn't otherwise have.

_ In Cambodia, a citizen can't hold office if she or he has a disability of any kind;
_ The Cambodian landscape is still littered with unexploded land mines, & the disability rate is thus much higher than average;
_ The children of Cambodia's Civil War (1970-1975) -- many of whom are disabled too -- have grown up, and many of them have children of their own to support;
_ It's sanctioned by law to pay disabled people less than able-bodied people, even if their disability doesn't affect their work.

So it's pretty damned amazing to hear a story like this. The Cambodian National Volleyball Team, whose members are all disabled, is ranked third in the world. The prize money they earned from one of their recent conquests was equivalent to two years' salary for every team member. Dude. That's the best lemonade I've heard of in a long, long time.

[From GOOD Magazine.]

1 comment:

Deirdre said...

I am afraid of the Cambodian disabled volley ball team, but you know who really strikes awesome fear in my heart? The Cambodian women's disabled marathoners.

Man, watch out - they are ON your ass and do not know the words "mercy" or "quit".