Spar Wheelchair Wednesday raring to go July 1

2015-06-24 06:00

DURING the five Wednesdays in July participants in the Spar Wheelchair Wednesday campaign will spend four hours in a wheelchair, experiencing the daily challenges of a person using a wheelchair.

“We anticipate that we will have 120 participants plus assistants taking part. This equates to 240 business decision makers being made aware of the challenges people with disabilities experience daily,” said APD Chairman Garth van Niekerk.

“The purpose of this campaign is that this experience will transfer into the necessary structural and mindset changes within the business sector,” Van Niekerk added.

Laura Schrieff, Recruitment Manager at APD, said, “The biggest stumbling block in the appointment of Persons with Disabilities in the job market is our shockingly inaccessible environment. This starts from our transport system, to the public facilities and into the potential workplace. I am a wheelchair user and know that I do not have a fair chance against a so-called able-bodied person when seeking employment.”

Besides the awareness angle, Spar Wheelchair Wednesday also has a strong fund-raising objective.

One of the main projects that will benefit from funds raised is the Ability Industrial Job Creation Centre in Paterson Road.

It provides real-world skills training and income-generating work opportunities for people with disabilities in an accessible, accommodating environment.

The centre secures contract work from local companies which is generally labour intensive and includes bulk posting, packaging, and assembling of components.

The centre serves two purposes:

. To act as a “stepping stone” for people with disabilities who are capable of being up-skilled and eager to grow. They receive training and then move into our Ability Wear Job Creation Centre.

. It also caters for people who have lesser capabilities who are happy to come to a supportive, enabling work environment every day.

Currently we have approximately 60 people with disabilities working in our Ability Industrial Job Creation Centre.

Our beneficiary group is disabled people who mostly come from poor communities in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch).

Why support the Ability Industrial Job Creation Centre?

The centre plays a key role in addressing the huge challenge of unemployment among people with disabilities from impoverished communities.

Due to a number of barriers the majority of our people working in the centre have no job alternatives in the open labour market.

The sad reality is if we had to close the Ability Industrial Job Creation Centre, most of our people would end up at home and unemployed.

To supplement their income earned at the centre, we provide a monthly transport subsidy and a basic daily meal to ensure our people can work productively and to the best of their abilities.

The Ability Industrial Job Creation Centre’s primary goal is to help people with disabilities become financially secure and to assist them to achieve their maximum level of independence. This we do by providing basic skills training and employment opportunities in the centre.

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