Kampala, Uganda – In a remarkable step towards fostering a more inclusive world, Heer Hitesh Usadadiya (14), a young Ugandan swimmer and United Through Sports Young Leader, has co-founded the Angel Aquatics Foundation along with his supportive parents. This non-profit organization aims to empower children and also those with disabilities in Uganda by providing them with opportunities to enjoy, learn and excel in swimming. Recognising the countless physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of swimming, the organization strives to offer training in adaptive swimming. By doing so, it not only enhances the physical well-being of these children but also provides them with a platform to display courage, experience joy, and even participate in swimming competitions at a global level. Angel Aquatics Foundation’s programs extend beyond swimming lessons, encompassing comprehensive water safety and accident prevention training.
One of the shining stars of the Foundation is remarkable Condelezza Nakazibwe Nyamisanga Thembo aged 10. She has been appointed as the ambassador for Angel Aquatics Foundation. Condelezza is a competitive swimmer with ambitious dreams of making a mark in international para-swimming. Her determination and aspiration to become the first Ugandan to win gold at the World Paralympics are inspiring.
The launch event of the NGO was held on August 1st 2023 at the Elite Swim and Gym Facility, the first Olympic pool in Uganda. Owned by the Hitesh family, the facility opened its doors to everyone, offering swimming schedules for those who wish to pursue swimming. It has become a symbol of unity and a hub for sports enthusiasts from all walks of life. The launch was a resounding success, broadcast live on national TV, the event featured 25 special needs children showcasing their swimming skills, inspiring countless viewers. Among the distinguished guests who attended the launch, was Hon Hamson Obua The Government Chief Whip, Chief Guest Hon. Asamo Hellen The Minister of State for Disability, Hon Sarah Mateke Minister of state for youth and children affairs, and Hon Engola Sam Senior presidential adviser.
The event was also honored by the presence of Mr Julius Achon, a former Olympic Gold Medalist who now serves as a Member of Parliament, and His excellency Mr. Upender Singh Rawat The Ambassador of India to Uganda, The Director of special Olympics Mrs Geneivive Bamu and The Chairman National Council of Sports Mr. Ambrose Tashobya. Reflecting the international recognition and support the foundation has garnered, their attendance demonstrated their commitment to promoting equal opportunities for children with disabilities in Uganda.
UTS President Stephan Fox said: “UTS can be so proud of all their youth ambassadors. Ezra who is part of Angel City Sports, Noah who is from South Africa, Husnah as a Paralympic swimmer from Uganda and Sylar from the Philippines who just opened up United Through Football and now Heer and his family setting up Angel Aquatics Foundation promoting and focusing on inclusion in swimming. Today we collaborate and support and tomorrow undoubtedly these youth will become our leaders and agents of change.”
Fahia Hitesh Usadadiya said: “We believe that with our foundation together with education of the public, we will be able to make our society more inclusive. This foundation will also help support talented swimmers who were hidden by a lack of resources or support from family.“
As the co-founder of Angel Aquatics Foundation, Heer addressed a gathering of over 200 people, sharing his vision of promoting equal opportunities through sports. Heer’s passion for sports, his commitment to social change, and his co-founding of the Angel Aquatics Foundation exemplify the power of young leaders to drive positive change in their communities.
Heer said: “Not too long ago, I was introduced to a social media page called “United Through Sports”. And on that page, I saw something which I never expected to see: I saw disabled people doing gymnastics, doing things that they loved. After taking a good look at that page, I really thought about it and wondered, what about the people here in Uganda?”
The United Through Sports movement proudly stands behind him and this initiative, and we look forward to witnessing the impact it will create in the lives of children with disabilities across Uganda. Together, we can create a world where everyone is included, thriving, and flourishing.