Annual initiative kicks off with a bang

; Elizma van der Westhuizen from Mazars leads the way down the ramp, followed by Ricardo Smith and Alfred Sandi from PPC.Photo:SUPPLIED
; Elizma van der Westhuizen from Mazars leads the way down the ramp, followed by Ricardo Smith and Alfred Sandi from PPC.Photo:SUPPLIED

THE start of Wheelchair Wednesday 2017 from the Hunters SUPERSPAR on August 2 saw 20 rather nervous corporate participants take on the challenge of spending four hours in a wheelchair.

Wheelchair Wednesday is an initiative run by the Association for Person’s with Physical Disabilities (APD) Nelson Mandela Bay.

APD chairman Garth van Niekerk said, “We aim to create awareness within the business communities regarding the daily challenges that persons with disabilities face by having participants spend four hours in a wheelchair. They are tasked with simple assignments that form part of most people’s daily routine, which included visiting public places like supermarkets, banks, ATMs, clinics and so forth.

“I myself have spent my four hours in the chair and can assure you that daily tasks that we perform without really thinking become almost stunt acts when seated in a wheelchair. The slightest ramp becomes a hill climb or a downhill race,” he said.

Participants give feedback reports to APD who then use the information to bring about relevant changes where necessary.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has fast accepted the importance of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities by initiating several campaigns to create awareness and education in this regard.

Within his portfolio as tourism political head, MMC Andrew Whitfield’s department has engaged the APD’s disability sensitisation team to conduct one-day workshops to ensure that tourism in the city gets its act together.

Wheelchair Wednesday activities are scheduled for every Wednesday this month and are followed by the handover of 150 wheelchairs to needy NMB residents at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on September 20.

The 2017 campaign concludes six years of the initiative whereby 650 wheelchairs have been donated to needy NMB citizens.

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