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Local aquatics programme Freestyle Aquatics held a very successful event on 12–13 October at the pool of the American School of Doha – almost 50 disabled participants came into the water for a lesson over the course of the weekend.

A professional film crew was there to record the event – which we highly recommend watching – showing children and adults taking to the water, to the delight of their families and friends.

Also attending the event was Qatar Foundation Vice Chairperson Dr Saif Al Hajri, who said such events would help change the perception of disabled people:

We need to educate people that those with disabilities are also a part of the society. Programmes like these, besides helping participants improve personal fitness, will also let them integrate with the society better.

Freestyle Aquatics is an aquatics programme that includes swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving for the physically disabled. It was founded by Kathleen Bates, who has been working with the physically disabled for the past 15 years in active/outdoor recreational settings. She is the only certified handicapped scuba instructor in Qatar and only one of two female adaptive instructors in the GCC. Freestyle Aquatics was chosen by Vodafone Qatar as one of the winners of its World Of Difference grant; the company has been supporting them since January 2012.

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For more information visit Freestyle Aquatics’ Facebook page – don’t forget to watch the video!