Aker BioMarine, together with 12 other companies, has helped establish the Stiftelsen-VI, (We Foundation) to improve the quality of life for Norwegians with disabilities.
Did you know there are 605,000 disabled people in Norway? This is more than the total population of the nation’s capital Oslo. This is why Aker BioMarine has joined Stiftelsen VI (WE Foundation), which brings much needed focus, motivation and resources to help disabled people get same opportunities and rights as non-disabled people.
Despite progress being made, disabled people are often still discriminated against. Did you know that 33 percent of young people with disabilities have poor health, as compared to 5 percent among the healthy youth and only one in two young disabled people are employed, as compared to 85 percent of their healthy counterparts? In addition, they are also more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems, reduced social contact and overall can experience a reduced quality of life.
There are also far fewer opportunities to participate in exercise and other leisure activities. Which is why the foundation is on a mission to do something about the situation – through mastering in sport.
Watch video from Paralympics created by Olympiatoppen.
The foundation VI’s guiding principle is that disabled people should have the same opportunities as non-disabled in achieving personal goals and to live fulfilling and meaningful lives. One important instrument is to provide inspiration and motivation through participation in physical activity. Surveys show that participation in sports improves quality of life, self-esteem, and boosts physical and mental health and, as a result, increases participation in employment, education and more social involvement in general.
According to the CEO of foundation VI, Knut Nystad, the foundation will work on solving social problems associated with being disabled:
The initial focus will be on elite-level Paralympic athletes, with the goal of creating role models. As in other sports, role models will serve to inspire, motivate and encourage participation, create opportunities, dreams and hope, particularly among young aspiring disabled athletes.
Birgit Skarstein, 3 times Paralympian and the world rowing champion adds, “Finally, an initiative has been launched that will be capable of achieving permanent change. The foundation VI turns words into actions, and hence makes a difference to both current and future athletes. It will provide new opportunities on all levels, enhance knowledge and bring an integrated focus to elite-level programs. Finally, but not less important, it will help make society more inclusive in the years to come. It has been an inspiring journey so far, I really look forward to what’s ahead.”
Knowledge and information centre
The aim is to turn the foundation VI into a knowledge and resource center providing information and knowledge about opportunities and rights for disabled people. While an initial board has been appointed, member organizations will be able to influence the future board composition. An advisory board will be appointed to further refine the concept and to develop new projects.
If the foundation VI is to make a difference, it will need the support of hundreds of members with a strong commitment.
Are you one of them to make a real difference?
Learn more about the foundation and how to join (in Norwegian) here.