In Sierra Leone, Football Offers Hope To Amputees

In Sierra Leone, football offers hope to amputees

Freetown, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th May, 2022 ) :On a sun-drenched Sierra Leone beach, a one-legged man balances on his crutches and fires the ball past a one-armed goalkeeper.

Sheku Turay and others like him have found much-needed support and a new lease of life through his team of footballing amputees.

"Playing football makes me feel like an important person in society when I see spectators cheering us during matches," said 37-year-old Turay.

He was just 12 years old when rebels attacked his village in the northern Tonkolili district, during the civil war that left tens of thousands dead from 1991 to 2002.

Doctors sacrificed his leg to save him from gangrene.

Most of his teammates lost a leg or an arm during the war, while others had a limb amputated as a result of disease or a road accident.

Life is hard for the disabled in one of the world's poorest countries, where half the population lives on less than $1.25 a day according to the UN.

After a day's work as a tailor in a workshop in the sprawling Freetown suburb of Kamayama, Turay must struggle through piles of rocks and branches to his one-room hut on the mountainside, among the tin and cinderblock dwellings, carrying his prosthetic limb in a backpack.

Turay said he has never received any kind of aid from the government or charities, but is saving up to open his own shop.

"I don't depend on people for my survival like other disabled begging on the streets," he said proudly.