2 December 2015
National Disability Rights Awareness Month is commemorated annually from November 3 to December 3 in South Africa. The awareness campaign concludes with International Day of Persons with Disabilities and National Disability Rights Awareness Day which is celebrated on December 3.
A community survey conducted by Stats SA during 2007 indicated that children with disabilities are less likely to have access to adequate housing, water and sanitation than their able peers. They are also more likely to live in traditional dwellings and informal settlements. Overcrowded living conditions and outside toilets also place an enormous stress on children with disabilities and their families.
The Mpumalanga Department of Social Development coordinated a research in the rural areas of Ehlanzeni, Nkangala and Gert Sibande districts. They found that only 42% of the identified disabled children were receiving rehabilitation. Only 33% had the assistive devices they required. Some 59% reported that the caregiver did not know how to apply for an assistive device.
The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) also undertook a study with disabled children. They found that disabled children are substantially less likely to attend school than their non-disabled peers. Children with disabilities who do get access to schooling also show a higher drop-out rates than those who are not disabled.
“These figures are shocking and saddening, but Casual Day brings a huge ray of hope,” said Vanessa du Plessis, Casual Day project leader. “The awareness campaign around Casual Day puts a public focus on the needs of persons with disabilities. We do not only focus on children, but provide funding to the entire age spectrum. For example Alzheimer’s South Africa raises funds for its research and awareness campaigns through Casual Day.”
“To date Casual Day has contributed over R222 million to the funding of organisations. These funds provided education, assistive devices, shelter and employment to the almost 15% of the population who have disabilities. The amount raised in 2015 will be announced next year in February, but we will add at least R20 to that number,” concluded du Plessis.
Casual Day raises awareness of disability in an uplifting way, focusing on the positive contribution made by persons with disabilities to communities. It is owned by the NCPPDSA and sponsored by Edcon. For more information contact: 011-609-7006 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Some of the children who benefit from Casual Day funds Tshilidzini Special School in Thoyohandou, Limpopo.