Empowering disabled residents

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Kopano Dibakwane

Faith Johnson, from Graskop, is a Community Based Rehabilitation Field Worker at Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA).

She said that the working relationship with Graskop Ward Committee, led by Councillor Sandile Shongwe, is yielding opportunities for local people living with disabilities.

Johnson understands the plight faced by people living with disabilities, as she is blind. However, her condition has revealed hidden abilities, such as actively formulating platforms for others to express themselves, which is clearly a selfless gesture and a lesson for many people to emulate.

“DBSA has done a lot in my community. We don’t prioritise a disability. Our role is to assist with referrals to SASSA (South African Social Security Agency), rehab team and family peer counselling. This is to help people with disabilities to become accepted in the community.  We are also working with the Ward Councillor to find job opportunities for people living with disabilities. We have secured work for a group at a Working for Water project, which will start soon,” said Johnson.

Ward Councillor, Sandile Shongwe, commended Johnson’s tireless efforts to ensure that people living with disabilities are given opportunities to make their contribution to society.

“I’m very happy that we have Faith who looks after the needs of people living with disabilities. I appreciate her commitment; she’s very cooperative and is really passionate about her work. We’ll continue to find ways and means to cater for all members of the community,” said Shongwe.

Johnson said that Thaba Chweu Local Municipality only has two DBSA Field Workers. She’s responsible for Dientjie (Moremela, Leroro, and Matibidi) and Pilgrims Rest, while her colleague covers Sabie and Mashishing.

“They must not hide us, we are not stupid. We are independent and they must take us out of the house. People don’t care about people living with disabilities because they don’t understand us. We were not recognised before, but things are beginning to change now. We also go out for awareness campaigns at community meetings, schools, Fire Fighters,” said Johnson.

She can be contacted on 076 881 5509 for further information.

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