To commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, today Citadele bank signed an agreement with the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee whereby Citadele bank will provide financial assistance to the Paralympic Committee and launch a social initiative, a paralympic sports sponsorship project “You Are. You Can”. Citadele bank in Latvia has been implementing an analogous project since 2012.
“The goal behind the financial assistance and the “You Are. You Can” project is to promote the development of paralympic sports in Lithuania, to engage more people in this type of sports, to raise public awareness, and to change people’s perceptions toward individuals with disabilities and their capacities,” Skirmantas Jareckas, the Chairman of the Board of Citadele bank, explained the goals of the project.
“We will also invite the bank’s employees, clients and public to participate in the “You Are. You Can” social initiative to work toward a shared goal of supporting our paralympic athletes and helping them prepare for the next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and other sports events and inspire courage and determination to achieve goals among all people with disabilities,” S. Jareckas said.
There are 260,000 people with disabilities in Lithuania. Based on the data of the Department of Physical Education and Sports, a total of 5,216 people with disabilities were engaged in sports in 2014, i. e. only 2 percent of the total population with disabilities. Very similar figures are reported this year.
“Paralympic sports are not only professional sports, but also an important part of life of people with disabilities,” said Vytautas Kvietkauskas, President of the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee. He admits that people with disabilities in Lithuania often avoid participating in public activities and living an active life. However, sports are one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation that help to exercise not only one’s body but also encourage a more positive outlook on life. The development of sports suitable for people with disabilities is important both for promoting their active lifestyle and improving their social life. “Sports are both a physical and a social rehabilitation,” V. Kvietkauskas said.
“The development of paralympic sports faces major challenges due to the current lack of state funding. Without the assistance of our sponsors, we would not be able to attract new talent and properly train the existing athletes and provide them the required sports inventory, finance their training and participation in international sports events. A portion of the financial assistance donated by Citadele bank will be allocated to raising public awareness of the sports opportunities for people with disabilities and their sports achievements, which is of crucial importance,” the President of the Lithuanian Paralympic Committee said.
V. Kvietkauskas expressed his joy for the paralympic athletes’ results by stating, “Regardless of the stated challenges, many paralympic athletes are able to undergo intense daily training and demonstrate great results. We can take pride in our track and field athletes, swimmers, goalballers and wheelchair basketball players, along with the athletes’ achievements in the events of Judo and shooting.”
“By their own example, our paralympic athletes show that personal courage and determination can help one persevere even when facing difficult odds that would otherwise break most people. Our paralympic athletes are the epitome of courage and strength; they are a testimony to the fact that you can do whatever you want if you are blessed with being alive. Their courage and determination set an example for all of us. Thus we, at Citadele bank, are launching the paralympic sponsorship project, “You Are. You Can”, on 3 December of this year, to show the whole world the people we take pride in,” said S. Jareckas, the Chairman of the Board of Citadele bank.
Citadele bank invites Lithuanian citizens and entrepreneurs to join the “You Are. You Can” social initiative and support Lithuanian athletes by donations to enable them to properly prepare for and participate in 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Account details for those who want to make a donation to paralympic athletes:
Lithuanian Paralympic Committee
Institution code 190651563
Account No: LT917290000000606963
Bank: AB Citadele bank