Meet the team: Anaise Uatahausi
In the first of our new ‘meet the team’ series in 2022, we get to know Anaise Uatahausi from Smash Down Barriers in Tonga.
Anaise Uatahausi is an administration officer with Tonga Table Tennis Federation, which partners with International Table Tennis Federation – Oceania (ITTF – Oceania) to deliver the Team Up-supported Smash Down Barriers program in Tonga.
Through table tennis, the program aims to promote inclusion across the community, educating the public and showcasing the skills of individuals with disabilities.
“I applied to work for Tonga Table Tennis Federation because I liked what the organisation promotes, ‘inclusion of persons with a disability through sport’,” she explains.
“It is great to see para players doing casual work for Tonga Table Tennis too. When we go to schools together to run the Bounce it Back program, which promotes inclusion, and the children see the para players and the passion they have for the sport, and it helps to change the perceptions of young people.
“The program is helping children to grow up to be more tolerant and accepting of their peers and people with a disability. As part of each session, there is a discussion or sharing activity on how to treat people that are different to you. I find that, during this activity, children reflect on their own behaviour and start to think about how they reacted or behaved towards people with a disability or those who are different to them.
“The Smash Down Barriers and Bounce it Back programs are important because they reduce social indifference.
“The program gives all participants the same opportunity, no matter their capabilities.”