Workshop empowers the disabled

2017-12-06 06:00
Students with disabilities proudly display their Abet Level 1 certificates. From the left are, front: Dikeledi Moroosele, Tello Mofudi and Nthabiseng Molongoana (ADP’s job placement and advocacy manager); back: Rosina Moleli, Hester Olifant, Disebo Ramagaga, Mphonki Mosala and Mirriam Santho (educator).

Students with disabilities proudly display their Abet Level 1 certificates. From the left are, front: Dikeledi Moroosele, Tello Mofudi and Nthabiseng Molongoana (ADP’s job placement and advocacy manager); back: Rosina Moleli, Hester Olifant, Disebo Ramagaga, Mphonki Mosala and Mirriam Santho (educator).

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Bloemfontein’s Kopano Workshop for persons with disabilities is gradually making strides to include the disabled in South Africa’s workforce and help them to become potential entrepreneurs.

Approximately 50 persons have been introduced to basic experiential work skills and 15 students passed their external examination of the Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet) Level 1 programme.

The 15 students have each received an accredited certificate after passing Mathematical Literacy and an English external examination.

A graduation function for the 15 successful students was held on Thursday, 30 November, at the workshop situated at the Transnet Engineering Building in Bloemfontein.

Candidates include adults and youth who, through skills training, are best-positioned to break barriers.

The workshop enables them to strike a balance in their lives and provides much-needed education and hands-on work experience, making them employable in South Africa’s workforce.

Thapelo Pitso, principal officer at the provincial Department of Education, encourages persons with disabilities to continue studying further.

“You need a strong heart and mind to get an education. The power of education goes back ages, from the stone age when people used stones as tools and to count.

“Education is important for self-development, is life-long and is not about age.

“Education is important in building your self-belief and your success enables you differently.”

Hilton Moloi, of Transnet Rail Engineering, encourages people with disabilities to make education an integral part of their life for self-empowerment.

“Education has the power for yourselves. Through education, the horror of stories such as those at Life Esidimeni, where persons with disabilities died, can be remedied,” says Moloi, adding that the partnership with Transnet and the Kopano Workshop will go a long way in addressing challenges faced by people with disabilities.

The education and experiential facility is supported by the Free State’s Association for Persons with Disabilities (ADP) and the umbrella body, the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities South Africa (NCPPDSA), as well as Interstate Bus Lines.

The workshop has been in existence for 15 years since its inception in 2002.

Nthabiseng Molongoana, ADP’s job placement and advocacy manager, said the education and experiential workshop continues to positively change the lives of persons with disabilities.

Candidates are trained to perfectly sew with machines, make shoes and bead accessories.

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