BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
TWO years ago disabled footballer Kudakwashe Mapira, also known as, “Terminator” made history after he became the first disabled person to represent the country at the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff, Wales.
And since he achieved the dream of representing the country in a sport that he loves dearly, life has never been the same.
For Mapira to achieve his dream, he needed help from the local organisers of the Homeless World Cup, Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) who selected him to be part of the Zimbabwe team for Cardiff 2019.
Inspired by the Homeless World Cup experience, Mapira has decided to start his own organisation called Terminator Mentality to help the needy and disadvantaged in the community.
“A lot of things have changed in my life after the Homeless World Cup because there were a lot of life lessons, which I learnt there. I had a chance to network with a lot of people from different countries, some I am still in contact with up until now,” Terminator told The Sports Hub.
“I feel I have managed to achieve my aim and I am proud that I got the chance to represent my country which was a dream come true for me.”
The Homeless World Cup is a weeklong, annual soccer tournament that gives homeless, socially excluded, vulnerable and marginalised people across the globe an opportunity to represent their country.
However, the event has failed to take place this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the aftermath of the World Cup experience, Mapira received interest from global media organisations and was able to tell his story of the discrimination he faced in his journey.
He speaks about his organisation, which has assisted some people with food stuffs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Terminator Mentality is an organisation, which I started to help people who are facing different challenges in their day to day lives. It’s also there to help people living with disabilities to understand that disability is not inability.
“Helping people in need in our communities is also our mandate as Terminator Mentality. We understand that the pandemic has put a huge strain on a lot of people so we try to help in any way possible with the limited resources that we have
“And as for the way it is growing so far, so good. I think we are on the right track and of course we also aim to keep growing and raising awareness in the communities.
“The dream now is to take Terminator Mentality international. I think that there are a lot of people out there, not only in Zimbabwe, but in other countries as well who I believe if they hear my story they will change the way they look at life,” he said.
At the beginning of the year Mapira was appointed one of the three global ambassadors of Para Football, a worldwide organisation which seeks to bring together autonomous and independent international federations of football for persons with disabilities.
YASD is pleased to have impacted on a lot of disadvantaged people in the country through the Homeless World Cup initiative.
“In Zimbabwe our focus has been to use participation in the tournament as a turning point for the participants, who are mostly drawn from vulnerable and marginalised communities,” YASD communication and publicity officer Joe Kuseka said.
“Participation in itself is not the turning point but the mentoring, coaching and personal development sessions held prior to participation have had a significant impact on the lives of the selected young people from these underprivileged communities.
“Since our first tournament in 2006 the Homeless World Cup programme in Zimbabwe has reached out to thousands of young people, the ability to have brought positive impact in their lives for us is quite significant.
“Through the project we have managed to use sport as an advocacy tool on international fora for the inclusion of people with various disabilities in mainstream sport,” he said.
Without the Homeless World Cup for the second consecutive season YASD has continued to engage young people in disadvantaged communities.