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Sailing4handicaps and the Little Optimist Trust announced as 2019 DAME charities

by Sigrid van der Wel - METSTRADE 13 Jun 18:10 BST
Sailing4handicaps and the Little Optimist Trust announced as 2019 DAME charities © METSTRADE

Every year, the organisers of the METSTRADE Show donate the combined registration fees for the DAME Design Award to selected charities as a way of giving back to society. After a tied vote between the members of the Exhibition Committee, there will be two good causes in 2019: Sailing4handicaps and the Little Optimist Trust.

The METSTRADE Show will take place from 19 to 21 November in RAI Amsterdam. Exhibitors can enter the DAME Award from mid-July, allowing them to show off their latest marine equipment innovation. The application deadline is mid-September, and all entry fees will be donated to help Sailing4handicaps and the Little Optimist Trust.

Sailing4handicaps

The non-profit Sailing4handicaps creates prosthetic legs for people in developing countries. It was founded by married couple Elena Brambilla-Czyz and Wojtek Czyz, two successful former professional track and field athletes. The organisation's catamaran Imagine, sailed by a specialised crew and fitted with equipment required to produce, test and fit prosthetic limbs, will circumnavigate the globe. It has a modern 3D-printer that can produce new prosthetic limbs, which will be donated free of charge to local populations. Moreover, the crew has medical training and will teach people how to keep their prosthetics in good working order. An orthopaedic mechanic will be flown in especially for each stop as Imagine travels the world.

The organisation's catamaran is currently in Tonga where the charity is planning to support at least 10 adults and children. The Imagine only leaves a destination when all the prostheses have been created and their recipients properly trained in how to fix, walk and maintain them.

The Little Optimist Trust

The Little Optimist Trust aims to offer hope and inspiration to kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through talks, books and films, the organisation helps kids stay optimistic, while its Sailing Academy empowers them through skills training and therapy. The Little Optimist Trust also partners with key sponsors to raise funds for renovating and brightening up paediatric health care and education facilities.

The organisation plans to bring its fleet of 30 Optimist dinghies to South Africa and this is where the DAME Award comes in: the trust has secured a spot at Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club to store the boats and run the sailing programme, and the DAME donation will help build the Optimistic Sailing Academy. This will offer a secure space for kids to learn, a base for instructors and volunteers, and storage for boats and accessories. The development is a game changer for the Little Optimist Trust as it prepares its fleet and programme in time for summer.

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