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Knights of Columbus Previewed a documentary on Haitian Amputee Soccer Team at London Sports, Disability and Theology Conference

(LONDON) – The inspirational story of Team Zaryen, the Haitian amputee soccer team sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and born out of the rubble of the January 2010 earthquake, was featured at an international conference on Sport, Disability and Theology at London’s Westminster Central Hall on July 2. The "Everybody Has a Place" conference was co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, which worked closely with the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, and several other organizations.

The conference drew together world-renowned scholars, theologians and disabled athletes to help contextualize the upcoming 2012 London Paralympics, and the important intersection of theology, disability and sports.

The growth and development of Team Zaryen has been chronicled over the past two years by a team of veteran documentary filmmakers. Segments of this new one-hour documentary, “Healing Haiti’s Children,” were shown during the Disability, Sports and Theology conference co-sponsored by Diocese of Westminster and a number of other organizations, including the the Knights of Columbus.

Tens of thousands of people died in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and more than 2,000 Haitians lost limbs. In the aftermath of the quake, the Knights of Columbus joined with Project Medishare to launch the “Healing Haiti’s Children” initiative making prosthetic limbs and therapy available to every Haitian child who suffered an amputation because of that disaster. The Knights of Columbus committed $1 million to the program that was administered by Project Medishare. To date, hundreds of children have received prosthetics and therapy through the K of C-Medishare program. The Amputee Soccer team, Team Zaryen was formed as part of this program to help amputees rebuild their lives and to help remove the stigma associated with being an amputee or disabled in Haitian society.

In the fall of 2011 Team Zaryen embarked on a US “Haitian Inspiration Tour” Tour” which brought amputee soccer clinics to wounded American service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The tour also featured team demonstrations at Major League Soccer games in Washington DC and New York.

“Answering the biblical call help our neighbor and be our brother’s keeper, the Knights of Columbus has a long and distinguished history of helping those most in need – including those with disabilities,” noted Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “That, combined with our longstanding connection to sports as a means of teambuilding and transcending differences – both in Europe and the United States – made our work in Haiti and our support for this conference a natural fit for the Knights.”