Disability champions recognised for contribution

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cape Town – From disabled entrepreneurs to businessmen who strive to improve access for people with disabilities, the Department of Social Development dished out awards to recognise those who contributed to making the lives of people living with disabilities easier on Tuesday night.

The event, which the department co-hosted with INSETA, was attended by Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, ANC’s leader in the Western Cape Legislature Marius Fransman and Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz.

Under the United Nations theme ‘Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology’, winners of various categories were given hi-tech devices for themselves or their organisations, while the Deputy Minister also assigned them to be ambassadors at a province of her choice to identify and mentor a child with a disability.

There were 20 recipients across nine categories that were recognised for their contribution to the disability sector on the evening.

The prizes were sponsored by Airports Company of SA (ACSA) and the MTN Foundation.

Winners’ circle

Under the National Business Leader Disability Award, the Self Help Association of Paraplegics (SHAP), a Soweto institution that rehabilitates and helps disabled persons deal with their disabilities, was awarded with a desktop computer and a braille printer, including a tablet equipped with Jaws software - a–voice-command screen reader developed for visually impaired people.

The South African Disability Development Trust, which skills and empowers disabled people so that they can get jobs, was also recognised under the same category for having ensured that over 5000 people get employment across various sectors of the economy.

The MTN Foundation also sponsored them with internet connectivity for 24 months.

Former Human Rights Commissioner Jody Kollapen and High Court Judge Jody Kollapen and Pick ‘n Pay boss Ray Ackerman were given certificates of recognition under the National Champion Disability Award for their contribution to the disability struggle over the past 20 years.

The MTN Foundation was recognised under the National Company Disability Award for sponsoring seven fully accessible computer labs for disabled children at seven schools, amongst many other contributions that they made.

Under the National Higher Education Institution Disability Award, the University of Limpopo was recognised for having various initiatives in making the lives of disabled persons easier, including the construction of a residence for disabled persons and establishing an accessible computer lab to ensure that disabled students never have to be subjected to travelling long distances to go to a lab after hours.

The False Bay College in the Western Cape was also recognised for ensuring that its institutions were fully accessible to students living with disabilities.

Under the National Woman Disability Achievement Award, Joyce Sibeko, the founder and chairperson of Ikemiseng Association for the Blind, received an award for her work in helping elderly people who are visually impaired access economic opportunities in areas like small scale farming.

Sibeko, who is also visually impaired, was given a Pen Friend – a high-tech electronic marker which tells the user the name, brand and colour of any object being pointed at through a voice prompt.

Another recipient in the same category was Nomasonto Mazibuko, the President of the Albinism Society of Southern Africa and a commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality, was recognised for her contribution to people living with albinism, which is a low-vision disability.

She received a handheld magnifier worth R12 500.

Under the National Young Leader Disability Award, Thabang Manamela was recognised for ensuring that his university’s Disability Unit was rendering a quality service to students with disabilities. INSETA gave him a tablet with Jaws software and a R102 000 bursary. – SAnews.gov.za