“Moving forward together!“ “Mobility and well-being for all.” Behind these slogans lie the ambitions of Handi Défis. Created in 2016, the Guadeloupean organisation’s goal is to provide mobility to the disabled and simplify their everyday lives. One of the islanders to benefit is Martine, who suffers from a cerebral motor disability that impedes her movement and speech. Through the organisation, she acquired Bobby, her service dog, who helps her get around in daily life.
Erasing prejudices and living together
To create connections between the able-bodied and the disabled, and so erase prejudices and break taboos, Handi Defis has expanded its operations to include managing and financing many cultural and sports events. Handi Day and the Tour Cycliste de la Guadeloupe are two such occasions. They are free, open to everyone and bring together Guadeloupean communities in a welcoming atmosphere.
Born from a meeting of two rally enthusiasts – François Chataigne, AGS Network Manager for the French Overseas Territories and the Caribbean, and Jean Marie Pili, Handi Defis President – the organisation has built a partnership with AGS Movers in Guadeloupe over the last five years. “We all feel concerned,” says François Chataigne. “Mobility is a subject that is particularly close to my heart, so when we met, I immediately offered my help. “
Facilitating disabled mobility
In concrete terms, the AGS team helps with event logistics. They import equipment for disabled people from mainland France and provide disabled passenger transport vehicles. For the Tour Cycliste de Guadeloupe, the AGS moving company staff transports and supports disabled spectators so that they can see the stages and participate in adapted activities in the Tour village.
“The objective of this partnership is to facilitate the mobility of disabled people by simplifying their access to equipment and making their lives easier,” explains François Chataigne. “Helping local communities by supporting non-profit organisations is a way of reaching out.” AGS Gaudeloupe also provides funding support. For example, they helped train Bobby, Martine’s dog.
And the great adventure continues. This year, Handi Defis will make use of one-wheeled all-terrain chairs known as Joëlettes to transport islanders with disabilities to La Soufrière, the famous Guadeloupean volcano that is also the island’s highest peak. A dream for all!