Empowering the disabled

2019-06-18 06:00
The founders together with the volunteers, from left are: Catherine Connor, Wilfred Diedricks (CEO of APD) , Nicole Brink, Cleone Jordan, Madge Preyser-Grantham and Kim West.                    PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

The founders together with the volunteers, from left are: Catherine Connor, Wilfred Diedricks (CEO of APD) , Nicole Brink, Cleone Jordan, Madge Preyser-Grantham and Kim West. PHOTOS: Nomzamo Yuku

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In an attempt to establish more skill development programmes for the handicapped, Little Green Things (LGT) in partnership with the Bridgetown-based Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) launched a social enterprise on Saturday 8 June.

The launch held APD’s premises was aligned with the celebration of the World Environmental Day, which was on Wednesday 5 June.

They held a greening day which saw a group of volunteers helping with various chores from gardening to designing pot plants. Volunteers came from different areas.

One of the founding members of the LGT, Cleone Jordan is paralysed and is part of APD.

She was involved in a car accident 20 years ago.

She says with the enterprise they plan to focus on empowering people with disabilities, starting with the clients of the APD. Jordan discovered a need during a time she was receiving rehabilitation at APD.

“There were no practical opportunities to prepare us to go back to a work environment and we cannot run away from the reality that it is still difficult to find employment if you are living with a disability,” Jordan says.

She says the idea of the enterprise was to come up with a profit-making plan with a potential to make a difference in more than one way as she says realising the impact society has in the environment and need to promote healthy eating, not just among the disabled people but the communities at large.

Jordan says they cannot make it a non-profit organisation (NPO) because funds are very important to run empowerment programmes and it would be a source of income for her. They would work with small business development programmes and relevant stakeholders to establish and source funding.

LGT will hold activities to raise funds, partner with market day events, fundraisers and also market their products at local retailers. Of priority will be planting micro-organic vegetables. They do have a few seeds but as a start-up enterprise they accept donations.

Wilfried Diedricks, chief executive officer (CEO) of APD, says they saw a potential in LGT as there is not much support coming in anymore for the disabled people. “We work with over 800 people across the City but only a few of them get job opportunities and some lose hope once they get disabled. With this partnership, we hope to revive hope and show them that there is life after and beyond their circumstances.”

Diedricks says this enterprise will form part of a rehabilitation programme.

Kerwin Smith, a client at APD, says he is excited about the opportunity as it will keep him occupied and he knows his role is valued and is looking forward to learning new skills.

“They have just started, and the garden already looks so well. I am learning new things,” Smith says.V For more information contact hello@littlegreenthings.co.za or call 067 161 8705 or 021 637 1204.

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