Spotlight on the disabled in Bridgetown

The handmade door stoppers on display.

The Cape Town Association For the Physically Disabled hosted an awareness programme in Bridgetown on Saturday July 1.

Fatima Martin, the social auxiliary worker at the association, who also has a disability and is wheelchair-bound, said the aim of the event was to make the community aware of the association and disabled people in their areas as many people have forgotten about them.

Arts and crafts made by people with disabilities were also on sale, among them door stoppers, pillow cases, doilies, cane baskets, bags, and hot water bottle holders.

Ms Martin said many disabled people were hidden away from society and the association gave them a platform to showcase their talent and become self-sustainable.

“We can do everything that other people can do. We just do it differently… but we are also human beings,” she said.

There was also a puppet show based on the rights of disabled people, as well as a performance by the Bridgetown Theatre Dance Society. The disabled people were transported to the event by ZiPD- a transport hub for disabled people.

Founder of the hub, Riad Masoet, who has multiple sclerosis and is a brain cancer survivor, said it was important to be able to transport disabled people because it was difficult for them to get around. “When they have job interviews or want to go to work, it’s difficult for them to get around because public transport is not conducive to their needs,” he said.

Mr Masoet said he planned to expand ZiPD to 20 hubs in the next five years, with at least five of them being in Cape Town.

He said that while awareness drives were hosted, disabled people were still being isolated from society by protective workshops and groups which kept them away from reality. He said part of his vision was to normalise the presence of disabled people in the workplace and in society.

Wilfred Diedericks, the CEO of Association for the Physically Disabled, said the stigma around disabled people persisted, particularly on the Cape Flats, and that it was important for people to support awareness initiatives and get involved with organisations which helped disabled people.

“The community needs to get know us again. By hosting these initiatives, we are able to make disabled people more independent so that they can go out and make money for themselves,” he said.