Disabled challenged to change mindsets

2010-04-09 00:00

TWO different initiatives for the disabled are under way in the city.

A selection camp for the adaptive rowing team is taking place at Albert Falls, and a computer literacy class for disabled students is being taught at the Trade Aid Centre, Boom Street.

Adaptive rowers, practising at the Midlands Rowing Club at Albert Falls, hope to make the national team that will enter the World Cup in New Zealand in November.

Head coach and rowing world champion Hilary Abraham has been coaching the adaptive athletes at the camp since Monday; the camp is set to conclude tomorrow.

The adaptive athletes train three to four times a week.

“The purpose of the selection camp is not only to select them, but to improve their skill in their training,” Abraham said.

“Rowing is one of those sports where you can go far in a short time. And we hope the same for these guys.”

Abraham said the team is short of women and encouraged more women to join.

At the Trade Aid Centre, where disabled students are enrolled for a computer literacy course, the organisation’s CEO, Mike Munro, said the course is about “empowering the physically challenged, especially those from impoverished backgrounds”.

Munro, a paraplegic of 26 years, said that in his experience people with physical disabilities often accept the limitations able-bodied people place on them.

“What we want to do is to change mindsets,” he said. “Many of the people I see aren’t interested in developing because they have been put into a box.”

By offering two-week classes, the centre hopes to help people with physical disabilities break out of their proverbial boxes and acquire the skills necessary to make them employable.

Munro said the aim of the project is to train people and settle them into the work place.

The first class begins on Monday.

For more details, e-mail hilary.abraham@gmail.com or Mike: ttac.pmbwi.co.za.

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