BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE Honiara Table Tennis Association in partnership with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Tonga Table Tennis Federation are expected to roll out the ‘Smash Down Barriers’ initiative to promote inclusion through table tennis in the Solomon Islands.
The ‘Smash Down Barriers’ program aims to promote the social inclusion and well-being of marginalized groups, particularly people with disability, women, and girls in the country.
Honiara Table Tennis Association’s President, Kevin Olea said it has proven the use of table tennis to promote social inclusion of people with a disability (PWD) in the Solomon Islands.
Olea said the Smash Down Barriers program is funded by Australia under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade the program aimed to make table tennis an inclusive sport for both able-bodied and para-athletes in the country.
“After our recent discussion with the Tonga Table Tennis Federation’s (TTTA), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Salote Cocker Fungavai, and Australian Volunteer, David Frot, the Honiara Table Tennis Association (HTTA) is optimistic about the program since it will create a great impact and changes many lives of the targeted groups such as People with Disability, young girls, women’s and most vulnerable people in the societies,’’ Olea told RAW SPORTS.
The President expressed her gratitude to the Australian High Commission through the volunteer program for allowing the expertise of the Australian Volunteer, David Frot to help facilitate the program in the country.
RAW SPORTS understands that the ‘Smash Down Barriers’ aims to use table tennis as a tool to improve the lives of people with disabilities living in Oceania and Southeast Asia, currently Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu in the Pacific; Thailand and Indonesia in Southeast Asia.
CEO, Salote Cocker Fungavai encouraged the HTTA to keep on doing the great work as they are about to get into a partnership to facilitate the Smash Down Barriers program in the Solomon Islands.
“It is a life-changing program, where people with disability are involved as development officers, players, and more girls participate in sport,” she said.