Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rehab - Association For The Rehabilitation Of Persons With Disabilities

We have chosen today's story, that was written by Chido Mbambe, a journalism student at the Walter Sisulu Univesity in East London, because we have a long affiliation with the non-profit organisation REHAB. 
Rehab is not situated in Mdantsane. The NGO occupies premises in Southernwood, but the importance of its work for the whole of the Eastern Cape can not be overlooked. Rehab does a lot of work in Mdantsane. There is a programme that looks after disabled people at their own homes in Mdantsane and busses used to travel to the township to fetch children with diasbilities and bring them to the Rehab creche in Southerwood for occupational therapy.There is no other facility in the Eastern Cape like Rehab. 

The health and the samity of a society is also marked by the existence or absence of social structures and institutions that cater for the disadvantaged and people with diabilities.We have recently spoken about the plight of old people in South Africa. What does it say about our society that there are so few institutions that cater for the old and the disabled in South Africa, South Africa beeing one of the richest countries on the African continent. 
We can afford it but we do not want  to afford it ! Here is Chido's Story.

REHAB by Chido Mbambe

Local companies are offering learnerships to the disabled who are part of Rehab’s database. Mercedes Benz recently took 26 clients, First National Battery and VW Uitenhage took 10 each and the Department of Health took 11 clients for learnerships.

This gives Rehab’s clients hope for better living. Occupational therapist, Mrs Judith Dirks said: “They actually make for good employees because they will guard their jobs.”
Rehab is the Association for the Rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. The non-profit organisation was formed 14 years ago as a support structure to the disabled. The associations for mental health, the physically disabled and the blind all merged to form one society.

Rehab is the only facility of its type in the Eastern Cape. Their head office is in Southernwood, East London, and another office is in Butterworth.
It serves as a resource centre to the disabled community. The resource centre hosts various workshops, counselling and support groups, fundraising and employment opportunities to assist the disabled gain confidence and independence.

Tony Moore works in the Pick ‘n Pay control room. He started as a volunteer at Rehab fixing wheelchairs.

Employment in the workplace is one of their key focuses as accommodating the disabled will break down stigmas in society. Many face attitudinal, social, financial and environmental barriers within their communities.

The learnership programmes open doors for Rehab’s clients. Not only are these learnerships a learning curve for the disabled, but they provide exposure, experience and training.

Mrs Dirks said: “Learnerships are advantageous as they cater for more people. They create more employment opportunities as companies take big groups at a time.”

The job preparedness and work assessment workshop Rehab recently held was one of their many successful information sharing workshops. This workshop had disabled persons who had just completed learnerships share their experiences of the working world with others.

An ex-Rehab volunteer, Mr Tony Moore, works in the Pick ‘n Pay control room. He has been part of the Vincent Park Pick ‘n Pay family for four years. He started as a volunteer at Rehab fixing wheelchairs.
Although in a wheelchair, he is a skilled carpenter, but has now also developed the necessary skills required in the CCTV control room. When asked about the work he does he commented: “I’m enjoying it, but actually I’m looking for something more challenging, I’ve got it now.” 

Story and Image by Chido Mbambe/journalism student at the Walter Sisulu University, East London

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