MEC Albert Fritz on National Disability Rights Awareness Month

Thembakazi: DSD WC’s story of hope

As we come to the end of National Disability Rights Awareness Month, I want to commemorate the month with a story of ithemba, a story of hope.

Thembakazi Yaso lost her mobility when she was paralysed by spinal tuberculous in 2009. Because her home was not accessible to her surrounding community, she spent most of her days interacting with the world through radio and social media only. For a long time, she struggled to come to terms with her disability and only posted pictures of her head and shoulders on social media, cropping out her wheelchair.

One day, Thembakazi contacted a radio presenter and shared her story. The presenter then put her in touch with a Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) social worker, Ms Ncikazi Nyoka.

Like Thembakazi, Ms Nyoka also had a disability. However, unlike Thembakazi, she was mobile, very involved in her community, and able to get around using her wheelchair, special access ramps and an adapted car.

Ncikazi inspired Thembakazi, taking her on a journey which would help her come to terms with her disability. Since their meeting, Thembakazi has started a social work learnership, and she’s also become more involved in her community. Thembakazi was inspired to support other individuals who do not enjoy their fullest life due to a lack of mobility and accessibility. As Thembakazi’s story shows, with the right support and care, people with disabilities can achieve anything.

DSD in the Western Cape plays an enabling role in the provision of services to people with disabilities as it has almost doubled its budget for the ‘Services to Persons with Disabilities’ sub-programme in the last five years, from R86 million in the 2013/14 financial year to R169.7 million in 2018/19.

As we mark National Disability Rights Awareness Month, DSD in the Western Cape will continue to support disabled persons and spread the story of ithemba, a story of hope. DSD in the Western Cape will continue to play its part and render services with our NGO partners and communities, ‘Better Together’.

Source: Government of South Africa

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