Since 2008 the Pursat River Run has included two parallel races for disabled people: one for amputees (mainly survivors of landmines) and one for wheelchair-racers. These races have been organised in association with a local NGO in Pursat, Disability Development Services Pursat, DDSP (click here for more information about DDSP). Due to their mobility problems, disabled people often do not travel far outside of their villages. It is therefore a remarkable once-a-year event for them to proudly take to the streets in the middle of Pursat town! The disabled athletes thoroughly enjoy the competition, and the races boost their self-esteem and build camaraderie between them. The races also increase the public visibility of disabled people, who are so often confined to their homes, sending a powerful sign to the community that ‘disability is not inability.’
The Pursat River Run helped to raise funds for DDSP to support its activities. Prior to the race, DDSP launched an appeal to its donors and expatriate runners to sponsor a disabled athlete.