Rita Henn and Partners, in collaboration with Chairman Industries and HG Prosthetics hosted 6 QuadPara Association of Gauteng South self-help centres on International Nelson Mandela Day.

On arrival everyone was treated to something warm to drink and some delicious breakfast muffins. The group was split into two; a music group and a games group. Behind the scenes the ORANGE DREAM TEAM from the East Rand Practice together with Chairman Industries got busy with a “wash and service” of our guest’s wheelchairs. Brakes were repaired and adjusted, arm rests repaired and welded, and chairs were cleaned.

The music group focussed on using aspects of music such as timing, sequencing and rhythm to describe and emphasize people’s mood. The exercises involved understanding how music and communication were similar and music was used to facilitate the coordination of movements even if it was just movements of the head or mouth.

Three games tables were set up, Hangman, 30 Seconds and a communication game called Chit Chat. Here we saw how competitive people really are! But there was also lots of laughter and fun. Winning teams received little treats. By 1pm everyone was really hungry and we tucked into some delicious chicken lasagne. Thereafter everyone who had a sweet tooth enjoyed some cupcakes and chocolate squares!

Before we bid a sad farewell, goodie bags were handed out. These were lovingly filled with some essentials and a warm beanie each. There was also a few lovely lucky draws of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates supporter gear, as well as some champagne and good bottles of wine. The lucky winners would have had an amazing weekend!

It was a fun-filled and very special day enjoyed by our guests and hosts alike.

Disabled Bay residents receive wheelchairs

One hundred people with disabilities got a new lease on life when they received wheelchairs as part of the SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday initiative at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The initiative, which required able-bodied business people to spend four hours in a wheelchair completing various tasks, served to create awareness of the real-life challenges faced by people with disabilities.

“We wanted to give back to people who are less fortunate than us,” said Wendy Westraadt, SPAR Eastern Cape’s promotions and advertising manager.

“The initiative touched a special place in our hearts and we wanted to make sure our retailers felt the same way.”

This year, Wheelchair Wednesday raised close to half a million rand, which is almost double that of 2013.

The initiative has now managed to put more than 250 people in wheelchairs since its inception.

Brian Bezuidenhout, executive director of the Association for People with Disabilities (APD), said he was delighted by the public’s positive response.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. The initiative has really helped to highlight some of the practical and social issues faced by people with disabilities.”

“Businesses in Port Elizabeth have shown what they’re worth and we’re really grateful for that.”

Participants, who represented 40 local companies, were encouraged to give feedback about their experiences.

Some aspects that kept cropping up were insufficient parking, counters that were too high, public toilet facilities and inaccessible ATM machines. Bezuidenhout said that there was an on going drive to make businesses more disabled-friendly, and that receiving these reports was an integral part of the process.

“In giving feedback that brought about positive change, participants were helping to make wheelchair-bound residents’ lives easier,” he said.

Wheelchair recipients were sourced from all over PE, with APD’s social workers assessing and handpicking candidates who would benefit most.