Life Journey: Disability in Rural South Africa
Inclusion of persons with disability which is in the centre of what we do would mean nothing if we were not looking beyond the person’s immediate needs. Looking beyond what a person with disability needs, and what more can be done to impact their lives has shaped how Life Journey program support our beneficiaries. Many of our implementation plans were delayed due to the pandemic outbreak and lockdown rules which here in South Africa prevented us from moving from province to province, this made it even more hard as we could not reach most of our beneficiaries who are at rural areas. We had to design some of our Life Journey activities to include hygiene packages which we sent to villages so that our beneficiaries can stay safe and protected. These hygiene packages included soap, sanitisers and reusable masks.
Some of the funds we raised through GlobalGiving, we have managed to impact the life of Thandeka, by purchasing an E-wheelchair which she can use to go around the community selling some of the fresh produce from our Inclusive Chicken and Vegetable Farm, this is one of many great turning points in her life as now she will not only be coming to the centre to work, but she will also be going out there to the community. This works very well as a moving and living awareness campaign because as she drives around, more people in the village where disability used to be regarded as a curse of some sort, they get to see disability in a different light. This will just go to show the importance of capacitating and supporting more persons with disabilities in such rural communities. Mobility and accessibility for Thandeka has been made a reality also by the construction of a concrete slab which moves from her house to the outside toilet which also links up to the main street level. The pictures below shows Thandeka getting oriented on how her new chair functions.
Everyone has a story to tell about how lockdown was and has been, how it affected their lives one way or the other, but for one of our young beneficiaries, His story will be one of the happy ones to tell. Simamisa was in lockdown at his home province which is 500kms away from the city where he studied and been living in for the past 5 years. During lockdown, we managed to find him his first ever internship/learnership. Through the Life Journey program, we managed to arrange permits for him to move from Kwazulu-Natal Province to Gauteng Province-Johannesburg, set up a rental place for him to stay close to his new job and support him with a light weight specialised wheelchair which he uses going to work by public transport. Today Simamisa sits at a front desk of an international multi-million company and goes through training of business administration qualification.
We are only able to do the work that we do, reach more peaple like Thandeka and Simamisa and make inclusion an actualy reality in their lives ONLY through the support of you supporters of Utho Ngathi Disability Projects. We thank you for your continous support that enables us to reach further out to people living in communities wich would otherwise be forgoten.