Blind, In Focus, National

UK’s Team seeking funds for “Ground-Breaking” Nepal Tour

The Change Foundation formerly known as Cricket for Change is currently raising funds for their blind women’s cricket team to tour Nepal and play against Nepal blind women’s cricket team, in what would be the first ever “Women’s Blind International Cricket Match”.

The foundation, established in 1981 as London Community Cricket Association is a UK charity works to promote lives of socially, physically or mentally disadvantaged youngsters by involving them in cricket events. UK First Blind Women’s Cricket team is one of seven major programmes of the Change Foundation in UK. The Change Foundation is known mostly for its HIT THE TOP Programme targeted in promoting lives of young people with physical disability. The Chris Gayle Academy and StreetT20 are among other popular projects of the organization.

UK’s first visually impaired cricket team began life in August 2010 as Bethan Evans picked up inspiration for Nepal’s motivated blind women’s team. ” She was so inspired by the work and witness of Pawan Ghimire of the Blind Cricket Association-Nepal(CAB Nepal) and the Nepal Visually Impaired (VI) cricket players in action, that Beth felt the desire to set about starting the first ever UK Visually Impaired girls cricket squad and team.” reads the programme’s description in the Change Foundation’s website.

UK's first blind Women's Cricket Team in action
UK’s first Visually Impaired Women’s Cricket Team in action. Photo: Change Foundation

“In Nepal I met an inspirational group of young females. These women and girls made up the only female visually impaired cricket team in the world and their energy and confidence inspired me to come back and create something similar for the females I worked with. Well four years later and I have a wonderful and inspirational group” writes Bethan Evans in her fund raising page.

Nepal blind women cricket team is the first ever female visually impaired cricket team in the world, and prior to 2010 it was the only female visually impaired cricket team in the world. Pawan Ghimere who laid the foundation for blind cricket in Nepal had been promoting female cricketers from the start. As a result Nepal is the only country that hosting domestic female blind cricket(Since 2009).

“Blind Cricket doesn’t discriminate” says Pawan Ghimere, chairman of CAB Nepal and example of that would be Nepal’s squad in 2012 Bangalore Blind Cricket World Cup, where Nepal was the only team to field 2 female players. Nepal’s female blind cricketers also featured in men’s competition prior to introduction of separate tournament for females.

The female blind cricketers in UK led by Lois Turner are picking up the pace as well. They currently play in (male dominated) VI domestic league and five of them carried the London 2012 Paralympic torch.

Members of UK's first blind cricket team preparing to carry the Para Olympic torch with with their guide dogs.  Photo:PA
Members of UK’s first blind cricket team preparing to carry the Para Olympic torch with with their guide dogs.Photo:PA

“This trip is truly groundbreaking and will inspire females all around. All of this became possible by sharing the Nepalese story, so please share our story and help us to continue to assist and inspire others to make a difference in sport for females.”, urges Bethan in the fundraising page.

So far they have raised £330.But they will need a lot more to make this groundbreaking tour. Money has always been the biggest issue with blind cricket in Nepal and outside. The blind cricket association of Nepal is itself seeking funds to participate in 2014 Blind Cricket World Cup in South Africa.