Wärtsilä and the Finnish peace broker organisation Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) have granted the annual Philanthropy in Sports award to Finnish five-time Paralympic gold medallist wheelchair racer and Athlete of the Year 2016 Leo-Pekka Tähti.
Tähti collaborates with Plan International to collect funds to improve the education and social inclusion of children, including children with disabilities in sport and play. Tähti accepted the award at the Finnish Sports Gala in Helsinki on 18 January 2018 together with Secretary General Ossi Heinänen from Plan International Finland.
Equal rights for children
The 10 000 USD award money will go to work towards protecting children and especially girls from discrimination and protecting their equal rights to education, physical activity and sports.
The funds collected by Leo-Pekka Tähti are used for e.g. improving attitudes towards disabilities in Pakistani and Ethiopian societies. Children are included in play and sports by modifying the rules, equipment, environment and teaching methods.
Plan International also trains local teachers in order to instil the equal rights model into societies through sports.
Everything in life is possible
Leo-Pekka Tähti says that the recognition of the Philanthropy in Sports award feels very good, because fair play, taking other people into consideration and equal opportunities are very important values to him. Plan International furthers these values in places where they are not self-evident for all children, especially girls and kids with disabilities.
“Sports has had a huge impact on my life and through my career I’ve gained a new perspective on things, which I’m very grateful for. I want to project the image that everything in life is possible if you really want it and you have the passion for it,” Tähti states.
The award was given out by Executive Vice President, Communications & Branding Atte Palomäki from Wärtsilä and Tuija Talvitie, Executive Director of CMI.
“In its operations Wärtsilä is committed to enabling sustainable societies. With this award we want to highlight the value of diversity and equal opportunities. Leo-Pekka Tähti is an outstanding role-model. Together with Plan International he can impact attitudes on a societal level,” says Atte Palomäki.
Leo-Pekka Tähti’s fundraising campaign is running through February 2018 and all donations are most welcome. The campaign page can be accessed here.
Leo-Pekka Tähti is a five-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair racing, most recently from Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and holds the world record for the 100 meter sprint in his class. He has also won three World Championships and five European Championships and was awarded the 2016 Athlete of the Year award at the Finnish Sports Gala last year.
Philanthropy in Sports award
Finnish Sports Gala (Suomen Urheilugaala) wants to emphasize the importance of charity with the special Philanthropy in Sports award. The annual award of 10,000 USD is donated by Wärtsilä and given in cooperation with Crisis Management Initiative, to be used on a charity target of the receiver’s choice.
The Crisis Management Initiative (CMI)
CMI is an independent Finnish organisation that works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through informal dialogue and mediation. As the lead partner since 2011, Wärtsilä supports the activities of CMI and creates partnership programmes with CMI in selected areas across the globe.