'Many gifted blind in SA’

2015-09-08 06:00
Celebrity chef Jenny Morris, singer Aviva Pelham, provincial premier Helen Zille, Natalie Maimane, wife of national DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and Lizelle van Wyk, CEO of the Cape Town Society for the Blind, were at a Women’s Month event held by the So

Celebrity chef Jenny Morris, singer Aviva Pelham, provincial premier Helen Zille, Natalie Maimane, wife of national DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and Lizelle van Wyk, CEO of the Cape Town Society for the Blind, were at a Women’s Month event held by the So

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“Labels belong on cans, not on humans.”

These were the words of Lizelle van Wyk, CEO of the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) in Salt River, while addressing women at a Women’s Month event at the Society’s premises.

Van Wyk said blind people shouldn’t be defined by their disability because they have more to offer.

Though the month to celebrate women has come and gone, CTSB has so much work to do. They are aiming to generate R20m over the next two years to help visually impaired people to do different things, Van Wyk said.

Part of the CTSB’s vision is to empower the more than one million visually impaired people in South Africa to become recognised, tax-paying, high-performing achievers and unlock their employment opportunities. They believe that the money would open doors for the many gifted visually impaired people in the country.

Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, and Natalie Maimane, wife of national DA leader Mmusi Maimane, were amongst the 260 guests who attended the event. Jenny Morris, a celebrity chef and radio personality was the master of ceremonies.

Van Wyk said: “The organisation is constantly confronted with social issues like stigmatisation and stereotypes that challenge their efforts to seek employment opportunities for blind people. Labels belong on cans, not on humans. We must be the change agents that inspire transformation. CTSB will have to work harder and smarter in order to ensure sustainable income.”

Zille said: “Parents who display unusual courage and fortitude in the face of setbacks and who rise above challenges to raise children with disabilities are indispensable to society.”

Zille said parents who rose above the enormous difficulties to overcome suffering were an important ingredient in building community.

Maimane applauded the CTSB’s work.

“Organisations like this give blind people their own voice and generate a platform for the visually impaired to put their issues on the table.

“All South Africans can be a Van Wyk or Zille in their community by displaying a heart and a passion for something that ticked them off, and then turn that into a cause. As soon as you lift up women, you lift up society because they are the backbone of society,” she said.


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