Connecting South African families challenged by disability

Able Families website is a social networking, advice and support website, as well as a resource and information directory for South African families challenged by disability. The site connects people with disabilities, their families and caregivers to helpful resources on disability programs and services nationwide. You can also find organizations in your community to help you get the support you need.

Tasneem Abrahams, an Occupational Therapist (OT) living in South Africa, created able Families in March 2011. “As a parent I found the numerous parenting websites and directories very useful in gaining advice and support relating to the health and wellbeing of my family. However, as an Occupational Therapist I noticed that these did not cater for those families struggling with disability, be it a child, an elderly person or even the parent themselves, and that such a service would hugely benefit the disabled community.”

Able Families is represented by the ‘Aya’ symbol. The Aya is an Adinkra symbol from the Akan, an ethnic group in Ghana, West Africa. The symbol depicts the fern - a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places and is used to represent endurance and resourcefulness. According to the Adinkra dictionary, “An individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty.” “It is this very quality displayed by many disabled individuals that has inspired the creation of Able Families,” says Tasneem.

Able-Families aims to empower and enable South African families challenged by disability to engage and participate in meaningful activities by providing support, advice, resources, and information about accessible disability related products and services available in South Africa. Tasneem admits that from a corporate point of view, the name is not quite sufficient, because it doesn’t tell you anything about disability, however, she states that from an OT background, one lack certain skills when one has certain disabilities. “The biggest disabling factor remains not having opportunities, or access to engage in meaningful occupations because of environmental or financial resources.”

While the Able Families website is still a work in progress, Tasneem assures that it is a good platform that contains valid purely SA products. “It’s a one-stop place where you can find all you need regarding disability.”