Head of N.O.L.A. wins U.S. disability award

The head of the local disability organisation Nuanua O Le Alofa, Mata’afa Fa’atino Utumapu, has won an international award.

Nuanua O Le Alofa (N.O.L.A.) announced in a post on its official Facebook page on Monday that its General Manager is one of 11 recipients of the 2020 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce that Mata’afa Fa’atino Utumapu, General Manager of Nuanua O Le Alofa has been announced in the early hours of this morning as a recipient of the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award,” the Facebook post reads.

“Every year, the Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards recognizes extraordinary leaders from across the U.S. and around the world, who through the example of their accomplishments and advocacy efforts, are reshaping societal perceptions, eliminating barriers, and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.”

The social media post further stated that the organisation is proud of Mata’afa’s achievements and honoured to have her at the helm of the N.O.L.A., to lead them in such important work.

In response to the congratulatory messages, Mata’afa said in her acceptance speech that she gives thanks to everyone who contributed to her success.

“Being a recipient of this award is an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “So I take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to my success. My parents, my family members, my friends, my staff and Board and most especially God for giving me the strength to serve his purpose.”

The Henry Viscardi Achievements Awards commemorate the vision of The Viscardi Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs. A premier disability advocate, Dr. Viscardi served as a disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and implemented groundbreaking employment and education programs that continue to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Launched in 2013, the Awards are bestowed upon leaders in the global disability community who carry on Dr. Viscardi’s legacy through their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts.

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