In light of national intellectual disability month, bigshots from some of South Africa’s most prominent companies joined forces with Little Eden Society to show compassion on the mobility challenges faced by individuals with physical and those with profound intellectual disability on the 2nd of March 2020.
Little Eden Society challenged the Chief Executives and Directors to spend one day at work in a wheelchair to spread awareness about disability, and help to raise much-needed funds to help cover the cost of caring for 300 children and adults with profound intellectual disability at Little Eden Society. Of the 300 Little Eden residents, 189 rely on wheelchairs for all their mobility needs.
Some of the obstacles that the wheelchair users face include small corridors in older buildings, parking lots that are challenging to get around, and uneven surfaces or steep slopes that are impossible to self-propel a manual wheelchair upon. Due to these, they are often excluded from fully participating in what could be simple daily activities.
Sandra Khumalo, is a Paralympic boat rower and a Little Eden CEO Wheelchair Campaign Ambassador who sees herself as a role model for other wheelchair users. “It is my wish for more chief executives to support this campaign because they are in a position to influence disability rights in their organizations, not only around access for wheelchair users in the workplace but also begin to influence how CSI allocates funding, particularly towards the most vulnerable groups such as people with profound intellectual disability, “she said.
Participating in the campaign allowed the Chief Executives to recognize the activity limitations that flow from using a wheelchair for daily mobility, enabling them to make informed strategic decisions to accommodate wheelchair users and other forms of disability in and at their own organizations. Some of the partnering influential companies that have supported the campaign since the beginning of the campaign, include Discovery Limited, Multotec, Mix Telematics and Mandate Molefe.
The impact of the campaign is valuable and grabbed a lot of attention in corporate space. OUTsurance, EOH, Sanlam Foundation, Kaya FM, Flender, Driv, SBM Energy, Fundi Capital, Oberon Pharma, Mei Construction services and S Guiricich Holdings joined the campaign for the first time this year. Barthi Patel, Director of the South African Federation of Mental Health said: “It is important for the federation to support such initiatives, which aim to be the voice that advocates for some of the most vulnerable members of our society”.