T-Shad hosts walk for the disabled

An Epilepsy Awareness SA crew member demonstrates how to help a person undergoing an epileptic seizure.

The Tembisa Self Help Association of the Disabled (T-Shad) recently partnered with disability skills consultancy Progression to host a walk to raise awareness of issues around disability.

Various organisations, stakeholders and community members gathered on November 24 to walk from T-Shad’s headquarters to Buhleni Park, where participants listened to talks about disability.

“About 180 community members joined the walk and some were assisting the people on wheelchairs,” said Tania van Heerden from Epilepsy Awareness SA, one of the organisations that was invited to participate.

Bathabelong Orphanage Home attended the event.

“We took one whole orphanage along and they joined us in the walk,” van Heerden said. “They also have children that suffer from epilepsy, and together we wanted to disprove the myths surrounding epilepsy.

“Community members must not be ashamed of their disability but they must teach others how to treat them.”

Van Heerden said she was humbled by the love and kindness showed her by a family who offered her a place to sleep the previous night.

“I was really overwhelmed with the support from Tembisa residents.

“Everybody came out to help each other, they showed the spirit of ubuntu.”

Members of the Buddha’s Light International Association also spoke at the event.

The Buddha’s Light International Association, another organisation that took part in the walk, offered to donate free wheelchairs and also pledged to give free computer lessons to the disabled community.

Kristen Kimble from Progression said her organisation helps people with disabilities to find employment, inter alia by providing skills development training to organisations for people with disabilities.

She said there was a good turnout for the walk, with a lot of disabled people participating.

“This was an opportunity to bring awareness to organisations that help people with disability, and it allowed us to bring the people of Tembisa together.”

Kimble said as everyone walked they shared the message that disabled people are an important part of the society and should be included in workplaces, schools and community activities.

Kristen Kimble helps Calvin Stemela with the mic.

Petunia Mashifane from the Bathabelong Orphanage Home said the home has two epileptic children, and it is important for the community to be taught about the condition in order to dispel the myth that it is caused by witchcraft.

“People must come out in the open about their different disabilities and get help,” Mashifane said. “The community must make them feel that they are also human.”

South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between November 3 and December 3 in order to raise awareness about people living with disabilities and help create a more inclusive society.

Jantji Ngwenyama

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