11 July 2018

Malawi: Queen Honours Malawi's Nyasa With Commonwealth Award

A 23 year old Malawian physiotherapist Charles Nyasa, the driving force behind an exciting movement to get more disabled Malawians to play sports, has received special recognition from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Britain with the Commonwealth Point of Light Award.

The award has been created to recognise outstanding volunteers that have delivered a significant impact on the lives of others and for creating innovative approaches to social challenges.

Nyasa successfully staged Malawi's first wheelchair basketball tournament and as a physiotherapist, he supports a local elderly community.

Receiving the news, former Malawi national team basketball player, Mervin Kadewere who works for TNM in Mzuzu, said Nyasa deserves the accolade and the respect he has received is for all basket ball fans in Malawi and the Malawi nation as a whole.

"Most of the times people with disabilities are left out when planning for sporting events. Against all odds, Charles Nyasa and his colleagues introduced wheel chair basket ball in Malawi. He is a true patriot and deserves the accolade," said Kadewere.

Nyasa volunteers at the 'Blantyre Wheelchair Basketball Club' where he arranges training sessions and basketball clinics conducted by experienced instructors alongside the daily running of the club.

He also uses his expertise as a physiotherapist to support the local elderly community at the 'Karibu Clinic', establishing a dedicated physiotherapy department where he provides free healthcare to 30 elderly patients a day.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen - as Head of the Commonwealth - is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.

Nyasa has received a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen.

The award for Charles Nyasa was presented on Tuesday 10 July at the Blantyre Youth Centre by Interim Country Director for DFID to Malawi, Chris Austin.

Nyasa said: "I am very excited to receive the Points of Light Award from Her Majesty The Queen, as this will help raise awareness on the need for societies to accept people with disability, not as objects of pity but as part of human diversity, with similar needs just like everyone else.

"It is my hope that this award will be a beacon that attracts partners to help us acquire disability-friendly sporting facilities in order to secure the future for continued sport participation for people with disability in Malawian communities."

Presenting the POL award on behalf of the British High Commissioner, DFID's Interim Country Director, Chris Austin, said: "People with disabilities around the world continue to face appalling levels of stigma, discrimination and abuse, and all too often miss out on the opportunities that are the right of every person.

"So, I am really pleased that there are many inspirational young people in Malawi and the Commonwealth such as Charles who are complementing governments' efforts--like UK's hosting of the Global Disability Summit in a week's time - to transform the lives of people with disabilities and getting such an important recognition from Her Majesty The Queen in the process."

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