Human rights workshop for disabled

Tanya Steenkamp, one of many guest speakers at the human rights event on Thursday.
Tanya Steenkamp, one of many guest speakers at the human rights event on Thursday.

The Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled in Bridgetown treated several clients to an informative human rights workshop and lunch on Thursday.

Members of the organisation say that despite hosting the annual event late this year, their team still felt the need to create a platform for the disabled individuals to know their rights.

The organisation, which provides social development services to enhance the quality of life for persons with locomotor disabilities, hosted more than 50 clients on the day, in the presence of various guest speakers, including members of the Department of Labour.

Ferosa van Rooi, a social worker and community development practitioner at the centre, says the event was of great importance to the clients, many of whom hail from the underprivileged communities of Manenberg, Hanover Park, Mitchell’s Plain, Philippi and surrounding areas.

“Human Rights Day for these disabled clients is nearly every day. Although we hosted the event late this year, it was more of us creating awareness and giving them access to information. One of the guest speakers was from the Department of Labour. For a person with disabilities to get to their offices is very difficult, especially when putting themselves on a database to know what services are provided for them,” she explains.

“We decided to bring the department here instead, as it is their right to have access to that information despite their conditions. We also had other guest speakers with disabilities who shared their journey with us, and how they used their human rights, leading to where they are today. This was the purpose of the event and to mainly celebrate their human rights as disabled people.”

In addition to clients sitting in on an informative workshop on the day, they also enjoyed a programme filled with exciting entertainment and delicious foods. Wilfred Diedricks, spokesperson for the Cape Town APD, says despite welcoming clients from all over the City, financing the organisation and skills workshops remains an issue.

“We provide several workshops to these clients on a current database of 800 clients, to help them uplift and empower themselves. We have seen many clients leave successfully, with outstanding skills. But financing these workshops and the building is one of the major challenges for the organisation at the moment,” he says.

“This is our own building and we have large grounds, but it is more of a burden when we don’t have finances to sustain it. We herewith have to do fundraisers every now and then, despite getting an amount from the Department of Social Development. But it is never enough, especially with a support staff and 18 qualified workers that need to be paid.

“To add, we no longer house patients at the centre but we would like to get a project running as we need housing for our very vulnerable clients. Our dream is to develop this huge land and build a hospital on these grounds to accommodate them. It will take a lot of work, but I am engaging with people already in order to get there.

“We provide these services free of charge to our clients and there is much that is still needed for them, especially with their disability. To add, transport is a major issue when it comes to getting the clients to the centre or our workers dodging bullets in their community, to get to them. We are always in need of assistance from the community and their help to grow these clients and organisation will be appreciated.”

V For more information, visit Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled on Facebook.

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