Improving self-worth for disabled

Young people enjoying the activities at the Youth Month event.

The Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) held a Youth Month programme at the weekend to inform disabled people about activities and programmes available for them with the aim to increase their self-worth.

About 80 youth and adults from Philippi, Gugulethu and other areas, attended the programme held in Bridgetown on Saturday June 30. The theme of this year’s event was health and wellness.

Social worker for the Cape Town APD, Brooke Tucker, said the event was aimed at showing disabled and abled-bodied people the importance of having a healthy mindset and body.

Physical activities on the day included dance and drama by the Bridgetown Theatre Company, which also focused on movement, focus, listening and following instructions. There was also break-dancing by the Immortal Dance Crew, and football training by the South African Futsal Federation where they introduced the game and checked the youth’s skill levels. The youth responded well to the break-dancing as each one had to say something in dance, by creating a break-dance move.

Chairperson of the Cape Town APD, Wilfred Diedericks, said although many organisations rally for disabled awareness, more needs to be done. “There are, however, challenges facing them such as transport fees to get to the programmes. So even if there were more programmes, transport and finance hampers their ability to participate,” he said.

Ms Tucker agreed, and said funding for these organisations is also a challenge as many of them rely on donations from the community. “Disabled people must pay extra for taking a taxi with a wheelchair, how do they do that with the R1 600 disability grant that they get? They can’t afford the travelling,” she said.

She further said although there are learnerships and internships available for disabled people, it never turns into a permanent job. “People are excited to get into these programmes but at the end of the day they sit at home with the skills and do nothing. They are being enriched with knowledge but don’t land stable jobs with a stable income,” she said,

Mr Diedericks said more organisations need to rally together to create awareness to reach more people.

Vice chairman of the South African Futsal Federation, Elton Davids, said sport improves the self-confidence and physical ability of a person and helps to improve the self-esteem of disabled people as they often lack self-worth.

“We want them to be active participants in sport. They must realise that it is possible for disabled people to excel in sport as well. Disabled people need to be celebrated more so that their self-worth can increase and we become a better society,” he said.

Mr Davids added that a future goal is to create a soccer league for disabled people.