Cover Story - 20 Years Casual Day for persons with disabilities
Casual Day is on Friday 5 September 2014
Casual Day celebrates its 20th birthday this year. The theme for 2014 is ‘Bring out the Bling’ and the colour for the year is Dazzle Blue. Put on your dancing shoes and dress up, not down, for this year’s Casual Day. Casual Day is on Friday 5 September.
“The theme is appropriately celebratory,” says Project Leader Celeste Vinassa. “We have been dressing casually for the past two decades, but this year is a special occasion. So our message to you is to rustle up a little razzle dazzle. Casual Day is all about fantasy and dressing up in things you can find around the house. Be creative with glitter, fabric, shiny paper or just wear your sticker and a posh casual attitude!
“This year we have printed 3.5 million stickers and we need everyone’s help to raise donations for these stickers. We don’t just sell stickers on one day, we must start now to make this year a success.”
Casual Day is South Africa’s foremost most fundraising project for persons with disabilities last year raised R24.8 million. Sponsored by The Edcon Group, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), which this year celebrates 75 years of service to the community of persons with disabilities.
Casual Day has appointed an awesome group of ambassadors who are campaigning for the rights of all persons with disabilities to be fully included in mainstream society. “They speak from experience and knowledge about disability,” says Casual Day project leader Celeste Vinassa. “It’s called ‘self-advocacy’. They are all people who have overcome great adversity, and are now ready to help Casual Day with its evolution. Casual Day changes lives one R10 sticker at a time. Our ambassadors are there to give society a deeper understanding of the world of disability and how to make the world a more respectful and nurturing place for everybody.”
Bernadette Rigney, former Transformation and Disability Awareness Officer, City of Johannesburg, was born in 1980 with a rare condition called Arthrogryposis, which affects the joints and limits the range of motion in her hands and legs. The condition in no way affected her intellectually, so she initially attended a mainstream school, but due to the inaccessibility of the school she had to move to Cape Town. “My parents reluctantly placed me in a school for physically disabled learners, Astra School for the Physically Disabled in Montana.”
She completed Matric at Hope School in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Bernadette is also a motivational speaker and she says she stays positive by surrounding herself with amazing friends who don’t see her as disabled. “I don't see life as a challenge, it's more of an adventure,” she says. “Dreams have this li’l habit of coming true!” She has an infectious smile and a sunny outlook which attracts positive and happy people to her.
Bernadette is the founder and director of fAbility, a company which shares innovative ideas and technology to assist and improve the lifestyles of persons with physical disabilities. “With all eyes on us, we may as well keep it fabulous!” she says.
One of the first tasks she has chosen is to get all her colleagues and employees of metros all over the country to participate in Casual Day.
She joins the charismatic Khumo Forbes Moyane, who became a Casual Day ambassador last year. He was born with a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as “brittle bone disease.” The term literally means “bone that is imperfectly made from the beginning of life.” A person is born with this disorder and is affected throughout his or her life time.
“I am the only disabled child in my entire family and extended family. I am a free spirited person and passionate about life. I embrace my disability - and harness the talent and ability that God has given me."
“Casual Day allows me to tap into my inner talent which is to motivate and inspire people and youth. I enjoy what I do because it is about changing people’s life in a very good way.”
Khumo is employed at the Casual Day office in the telesales department, and also helps out in the publicity department, organising media opportunities for himself and other ambassadors. As an ambassador he is very active in advocating for persons with disabilities.
Apart from the services they provide to their constituencies, they are involved in advocacy and lobbying for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream society. All our national beneficiaries are committed to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities – and are representative of a spectrum of conditions and disabilities. They are:
- QuadPara Association of South Africa
- National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA
- South African National Council for the Blind
- South African Federation for Mental Health
- Deaf Federation of South Africa
- Autism South Africa
- Down Syndrome South Africa
- National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy
- South African National Deaf Association
- National Institute for the Deaf
- Alzheimer’s South Africa
- South African Disability Alliance
Casual Day provides the country with the opportunity to show their solidarity with persons with disabilities, at the same time enjoying teambuilding and camaraderie with their fellow participants. It gives South Africans the opportunity to be creative and have fun while contributing to the betterment of society. It is community spirit in action.
Stickers are available from:
- Red Square
- Absa outlets
- Game and DionWired stores
- Shoprite and Checkers stores.
Participants are encouraged to dedicate the day to Casual Day, devising their own capers, events, functions and missions. Casual Day puts the fun into fundraising.