Aker BioMarine, together with 12 other companies, has helped establish The WE
Foundation (Stiftelsen VI), to improve the quality of life for Norwegians with disabilities.
Did you know there are 605,000 disabled people in Norway? This means more people than the total population of the nation’s capital Oslo.
The WE Foundation mission is to bring much-needed focus, motivation, and resources to help disabled people get the same opportunities and rights as non-disabled people. This is such an important cause, which is why Aker BioMarine has joined the foundation.
Despite progress being made, disabled people are often still discriminated and feel left out of society. Did you know that 33 percent of young people with disabilities have poor health and only one in two young disabled people are employed? 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 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 encouraging participation in sport.
The WE Foundation’s guiding principle is that disabled people should have the same
opportunities as non-disabled in achieving personal goals, 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, boosts physical and mental health. As a
result, it increases participation in employment, education and more social involvement in general.
According to the CEO of foundation WE, 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.”
WE- ambassador 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 WE Foundation 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 no 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.”
What can you do to help?
If the foundation is to make a difference, it will need the support of many
more members with a strong commitment. Are you one of them to join the WE
movement and make a real difference?
Photo: Sofie Torlei Olsen