Badian thankful for disability

2015-11-24 06:00
 Badian Belford has been paralysed from the waist down since a hit and run accident in 2011. He has since used his paralysis as a means to change his life. He helps others in coping with their disabilities.

Badian Belford has been paralysed from the waist down since a hit and run accident in 2011. He has since used his paralysis as a means to change his life. He helps others in coping with their disabilities.

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He has been living with a disability for almost five years, after a hit and run accident left him paralysed from the waist down.

But Badian Belford viewed his paralysis as an opportunity to change his life.

“I accepted my disability and to a certain degree I was thankful for it. At the time of the accident I was a substance abuser and my aggressive behaviour often got me into trouble. I questioned my actions and conduct, but when I became disabled, I found a new meaning to life,” says Belford.

After guidance from a neighbour, Belford was admitted to the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC) for physical rehabilitation in 2011.

The facility provides specialised, multidisciplinary rehabilitation and community reintegration programmes for people with physical disabilities.

“Our facility focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities. Combining the skills of our multidisciplinary team and community and family involvement empowers persons with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment opportunities, health and social services – this combined effort greatly benefits our clients,” says Jenny Hendry, CEO at the Centre. (Read more about the Centre on page 11.)

Now 25 years old, the Mitchell’s Plain resident is happily married with 9-year-old twin daughters.

“My family and my mother have played an integral role in my growth. As a person with a disability I value the love and support I receive from my loved ones. It reassures you that you are not an obligation and that regardless of the challenge, they are there to support you,” explains Belford.

While a client at the WCRC, Belford was often a companion to many other patients.

“I noticed that some of the clients at the WCRC never had any visitors. Realising the important role family and friends play, I regularly made an effort to bring these individuals care packages and often visited them,” he says.

After discharge, Belford is still a regular visitor at the WCRC and an active trained peer supporter at the facility.

“I do house calls to persons with disabilities living in my area. I ensure that they are knowledgeable about their rights as persons with disabilities. I check on their welfare and offer an ear to listen – a small gesture, but one that is greatly appreciated. I also offer one-on-one supportive counselling to in-patients and facilitate the introduction of pre-discharge groups to in-patients to assist with re-integration to the community.

“As a peer supporter I am able to assist that individual to assume responsibility of his life in all areas, regardless of what his disability may be. Our skills training and peer mentoring help many people with disabilities develop independent and self-sufficient lives,” he says.

Belford is also the neighbourhood barber and an active member of his daughters’ school governing body.

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