The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) Training Academy, in conjunction with Mosaic Works, spent approximately R200 000 on a training initiative for differently-abled people. The project, which is the first of its kind at the City, trained participants aged between 18 and 40 years to create mosaic art. Read more below:The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron, visited the Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre in Bellville on Wednesday, 11 April 2018, to see the handwork of the differently-abled persons who formed part of a training initiative that is being funded by the TDA.The City initiated the project to create public seating at some of its environmental, heritage and public parks. The group involved with the project decorated the benches with mosaic art.During the selection process, participants first had to undergo an assessment to test their aptitude in terms of the cutting and shaping of tiles, as well as placing the tiles in a particular format in order to create the design. Fine motor skills form a great part of creating mosaic and their ability in this sphere needed to meet the project requirements. The programme will also help develop fine motor skills, encourage team work, and challenge the participants to follow instructions.The purpose of the project was to develop skills that could lead to job creation for differently-abled people; and to beautify community environmental and heritage resources, as well as public parks, through the use of mosaic art on public seating.The participants decorated cement benches that are used as public seating in the City’s Biodiversity Showcase Gardens Environmental Education Centre (BSG EE Centre) next to the Green Point Park in the Cape Town city centre, Westridge Park in Mitchells Plain, and the Alta du Toit Centre in Bellville. Using mosaic art, the group decorated 10 benches – four of which will be used in the BSG EE Centre, four in Mitchells Plain, and two in Bellville. The artwork and design depicts the indigenous flora of Cape Town.‘All in all, the trainees worked on this project for 30 days. I am very excited about this project as this is echoing the City’s priority to encourage and support the training and development of differently-abled individuals. Mosaic is the ideal art form whereby the trainees can express themselves. What is making this project even more meaningful is the fact that their work will be showcased to the wider community and visitors to Cape Town – giving them every reason to be proud of what they are working on,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.Providing those who are differently-abled with opportunities for self-development is one of the City’s key pillars as an inclusive city. ‘The skills that these people acquired through this project can ensure that they are not left out of the economy. Using their new skills, they may get involved in other projects to beautify public and private spaces thus giving them an opportunity to earn an income through art in future,’ said Councillor Herron.One of the participants in the programme, Jackie Claasen, said ‘It was a pleasure working on the project and an excellent experience and I would love to do it again’. ‘We all feel inspired by seeing something that we have created – be it as individuals, or as part of a team. Similarly, I believe that this project will create a sense of pride, and help build the self-esteem of the six people who were involved in this project,’ said Councillor Herron.‘This is the first, but certainly not the last project of this nature. We will contact organisations working with differently-abled people to establish interest after which we hope to have another programme starting in the new financial year,’ said Councillor Herron.The Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre is managed by the Western Cape Government, and offers residential facilities to adult persons who are differently-abled. The centre provides skills development programmes that ensure the optimal development of those who reside at the facility.It also facilitates the production and sale of a variety of other craft works by their residents. ‘I encourage everyone to visit and support their programmes. I am looking forward to my next visit when I will be having tea in their new tea garden,’ said Herron.