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Nothing can Stop Disabled Yemenis Women from Participating in Women’s Wheelchair Basketball

Yemen's Women With Disabilities Seek Inclusion Through Wheelchair Basketball

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Disabled Yemeni women take part in a local wheelchair basketball championship in Yemen's capital Sanaa. VOA

By Nisan Ahmado

Living through years of Yemen’s devastating war has been a constant struggle for Afaf Mohammed al-Adwar, who uses a wheelchair because of congenital spinal damage.

But she is now determined to demonstrate her ability to cope by participating in a women’s wheelchair basketball championship.

The 16-year-old sportswoman joined dozens of other girls and women with mobility impairment in a wheelchair basketball tournament that was held in Sanaa this month.

She told VOA that her participation was “the first step” toward showing the plight of Yemen’s women and girls with disabilities during four years of civil war between the government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

“We are trying to show people that we are not just disabled, but we are able to do whatever we aspire to,” al-Adwar said.

She said that women and girls with disabilities in Yemen are on the margins of society, excluded from basic humanitarian assistance, while at the same time facing gender-based discrimination.

“The society frowns upon letting girls leave their houses, let alone allowing them to play sports. It was hard for my family at first to let me play, but when they saw me in the games, they started encouraging and supporting me,” she told VOA, adding that she was grateful to be a part of an attempt to change the common mentality of a rather conservative society going through conflict.

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Yemeni women are now determined to demonstrate their ability to cope by participating in a women’s wheelchair basketball championship. VOA

Five-team competition

Five teams competed in a weeklong championship that started on December 7 and was sponsored by the Red Cross and other organizations in Yemen working to benefit people with disabilities.

The winners will compete in a regional championship next year in Beirut.

Al-Adwar’s team, al-Tahadi Organization for Supporting Women with Disabilities, came in fourth place and received a special award for their “sport spirit.”

Jihad Hammoud Ahmed Jaber, a spokesperson for the al-Tahadi Organization, told VOA such activities will empower girls and women with disabilities to become active members of their communities. At the same time, they will help change societal perceptions by creating a more inclusive atmosphere for everyone.

“The goal of having a women’s basketball championship was to make the women get out from their isolation, especially amid the ongoing war in the country,” Jaber said. “Those who didn’t allow their daughters to play a sport, we wanted to show them how this can help their daughters physically and mentally and how it can give their daughters strength and empowerment.”

The conflict in Yemen escalated after Iran-backed Houthis overran Sanaa in September 2014. In 2015, the conflict turned into a proxy war when an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a military and economic campaign against the Houthis.

The United Nations calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It has warned that people with disabilities are the country’s most vulnerable, facing immense hardship to get much medical aid or to move from battlefield zones to safer refuges.

Most excluded 

Rights group Amnesty International estimates that the devastating conflict has left 4.5 million Yemenis, or 15% of the country’s population, with some form of disability.  In a 50-page report published this month, the organization concluded that the conflict has limited health services for Yemenis with disabilities and taken away their rights to education and employment opportunities, while adding risks from violence and living in displacement.

It said some people with disabilities were separated from their families and left behind as people fled war “because the trip was too difficult for the person with a disability to undertake.”

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“Yemen’s war has been characterized by unlawful bombings, displacement and a dearth of basic services, leaving many struggling to survive. The humanitarian response is overstretched, but people with disabilities — who are already among those most at risk in armed conflict — should not face even greater challenges in accessing essential aid,” said Rawya Rageh, the group’s crisis adviser.  (VOA)

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Higher Fruits and Vegetables Intake Beneficial for Women: Health Researchers

Higher fruits intake linked to fewer menopausal symptoms

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A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables is known to benefit the human body in so many ways. Pixabay

A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables is known to benefit the human body in so many ways, as now health and lifestyle researchers have found that it may also play a role in lessening various menopause symptoms.

Although hormone therapy has been proven to be an acceptable method for treatment of menopause-related symptoms for many women, the search for nonpharmacologic treatment options is ongoing, especially for women with certain risk factors and those who are not candidates for hormone therapy.

Specifically, there has been a focus on identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that might prevent or alleviate menopause symptoms, said the study, published in the Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

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Eating fruits and vegetables may also play a role in lessening various menopause symptoms. Pixabay

“This small cross-sectional study provides some preliminary evidence regarding the influence of fruit and vegetable intake on menopause symptoms,” said study researcher Stephanie Faubion from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in the US.

NAMS is North America’s leading nonprofit organisation dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging.

According to the researchers, previous studies have suggested that dietary factors may play a critical role in estrogen production, metabolism, and consequently, menopause symptoms.

In particular, the consumption of fruits or a Mediterranean-style diet, characterised by a high content of vegetables, fruits, cereals, and nuts, was linked to fewer menopause symptoms and complaints.

This new study goes a step further in looking at specific fruits and vegetables and their effects on various menopause symptoms.

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Citrus fruits, for example, were called out as having an adverse effect on urogenital scores compared with other types of fruits, as were green leafy or dark yellow vegetables compared with other vegetables, they added.

“There is ample evidence that a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables has a beneficial effect on health in a myriad of ways, but additional study is needed to determine whether various menopause symptoms may be affected by dietary choices,” Faubion said. (IANS)