The George Municipality Disability and Gender section in conjunction with the Garden Route Mall and Nelson Mandela University held the annual Disability School Awareness programme on Friday last week at the Mall parking area.
These three institutions are the main sponsors of the event, that attempts to change the mindsets of the youth with regards to stigma’s related to people living with disabilities.
Cllr Sean Snyman, Portfolio Councillor for Community Development and Social Services opened the event and said if South Africa should change for the better we need to change the mindsets of our youth and when we talk about people living with disabilities the same applies. He said how many children today still mock, criticize or look down upon other children because of their differences?
Snyman said although the day is about having fun and enjoying the activities, it is an extremely serious day because, what you will be enjoying for a few hours, 7.9% of South Africans experience all day, every day of their lives. “Having a disability is not something that one can simply forget about or walk away from when things get tough. Unlike the children participating in the event today, children, adults and parents with all forms of physical and mental impairments are still being marginalised by society even though their rights are recognised in both the South African and the Human Rights Bill of rights”.
Cllr Snyman, who lives with a disability himself, asked the attendees to experience just a few hours of what these people have to live with but also to remember that everybody, even those living a perfectly healthy life are only a few millionths of a second away from the possibility of becoming a member of those living with disabilities.
He said, “If we improve our world to accommodate those members of society, we open the doors to a better life for all”.
The schools participating were Pacaltsdorp Primary, Dellville Park Primary, Haarlem Primary, Waboomskraal Primary, Tyholora Primary, Franken Primary, Hibernia Primary and Conville Primary
Captions: Youngsters from different schools won gift vouchers from Garden Route Mall at the event. Here are, from left Ejustley Boshoff, Coordinator of the Disability and Gender section at George Municipality, Jody-Ann Buys (Pacaltsdorp Primary), Shevandre da Silva (Dellville Park Primary), Paulynn Fielies (Marketing Department: Garden Route Mall), Welmarie Cloete (Conville Primary), Ricardo Prins (Geelhoutboom Primary), Tumi Masango (Marketing Department: Garden Route Mall), Amber Manewill (Haarlem Primary) and Jonathan Fortuin from Community Development at George Municipality.