A prosthetic leg keeps a towel clean and dry in a Prague locker room. The leg usually supports the weight of a school-aged child. But today the prosthesis waits on land while the child joins his friends in the swimming pool, thanks to the Civic Association for Study, Rehabilitation, and Sports Without Barriers, a nongovernmental organization that runs activities for people living with disabilities in the Czech Republic. Jan Nevrkla, chairman of the Czech Association for the Disabled, founded the organization to teach handicapped children swimming and other sports. Nevrkla got the idea for the organization after he taught his best friend, a car wreck survivor and recent leg amputee, how to swim. Observing that athletics not only strengthened his friend’s body, but also restored his spirit, Nevrkla decided to assist other people in the same way. With early funding from Johnson & Johnson, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based health-care products multinational, Nevrkla’s Sports Without Barriers now helps some 500 handicapped children get back into the game.
Partnering with the International Center of Photography, Johnson & Johnson recently sent five photographers to document the company’s charitable projects around the world. Portland, Ore. based Toni Greaves photographed Sports Without Barriers, as well as 23 other organizations. She hopes her photographs inspire their viewers as much as these organizations inspired her.