New hope for physically challenged

2017-02-22 06:01
Some of the work being done at the Abercare Protective Employment Work centre.PHOTO:supplied

Some of the work being done at the Abercare Protective Employment Work centre.PHOTO:supplied

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THE Pietermaritzburg branch of the Association for the Physically Challenged is giving new hope to physically challenged persons who cannot work in the open labour market by offering them employment.

The branch is running the Abercare Protective Employment Work centre which offers experience and skills for people with physical disabilities.

Speaking to the Maritzburg Echo about the project, Social Work manager Diane Singh said that many people with disabilities who could not complete their schooling for different reasons have a hard time securing employment.

“We have sheltered employment for people with disabilities who cannot function in the open labour market because, perhaps, they are slower with one only hand or they’ve suffered a stroke and have limited use of an arm or a leg.

“Although there is legislation that says at least two percent of the work force should be people with disabilities, all companies, and even government departments, don’t keep to that. They only consider people with “mild” disabilities.”

Singh said the significance of empowering the disabled unemployed is a vital need in society.

“It’s quite difficult for people who are moderately disabled to find employment. The other issue around employment for people with disabilities is that many of them could not complete schooling. Unfortunately our schooling system is a challenge. Usually special needs schools are far away from where the person lives, families are reluctant to send their children to boarding facilities or there is no boarding facility and families have to pay large amounts to transport their children.”

She said the results of that is adults in their 20s and 40s whose level of education is minimal. Singh said the association has contracts from various companies and the clients who join the workshops do simple tasks and get paid a minimal amount for it.

“Transport is provided for some clients depending on the area and the workshops are from Monday to Friday.”

There is a screening process for clients wishing to apply. They must have a medical certificate from a doctor confirming the type of disability they have. The workshops accommodate a total of 50 to 60 people between the ages of 18 to 59.

Singh said the idea behind opening the centre was for physically disabled people to get used to the work environment and then move to being self-employed or find another job.

For more information the association can be contacted on 033 342 2768.

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