Project Tshedza

Empowering people with disabilities with assistive devices 

QASA, in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), have launched a new initiativecalled Project Tshedza meaning light in Tshivenda.

The Chief Executive Officer ofthe DBSA has provided R100,000 per year for the next four years as seed funding to Project Tshedza for the development of people with disabilities. The funds will be used to acquire assistive devices and mobility aids that will enable and empower people with disabilities. QASA will act as the facilitator andidentify people who should qualify for assistive devices and mobility aids.

DBSA have, through a Memorandum of Understanding with QASA, made a commitment to recruiting appropriate and motivated people with disabilities to be considered for joining the DBSA training programme on SAP. The programme has been put in place in order to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain high level careers. QASA will also assist in the promotion of this project to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to have life changing equipment and also enhance their careers.

Should you wish to be considered for assistive devices, mobility aids or for career opportunities please submit an application (available from the QASA office)

Round Table KZN Cannonball Run 2010 Handover of Equipment

February saw the official handover of equipment by the Round Table for the KZN Cannonball Run 2010. Five brand new computers, two flat screen TV's and a digital camera with a total value of R30 000 were handed over to the QuadPara Association's Regional office in Pinetown, KZN.

The equipment will be used at our Gauteng North Community Computer Access Centre. Our two Computer Training Centres offer free basic computer training, provide students with essential skills development and assist with access to employment opportunities. The equipment will not only ensure sustainability of our training and employment projects, but will also have the added benefits of inspiring, empowering and uplifting people with disabilities.

QASA remains extremely proud to not only be part of the annual Cannonball Run event, but to be the 2010 beneficiary. QASA would like to sincerely thank the Round Table for making a meaningful difference to the lives of paraplegics and quadriplegics in South Africa. 

Keep the wheels turning with SABAT batteries 

SABAT Batteries has continued its ongoing relationship with the Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (QASA), sponsoring all members who use power wheelchairs with a pair of batteries per annum to keep them moving and mobile.

Sabat Batteries has a great relationship with QASA, largely thanks to their incredibly vibrant and energetic Director, Ari Seirlis, whose mission it is to assist people with mobility impairments to lead independent lives. Providing mobility to people improves the quality of life for that person and their entire family. In gaining mobility, people are given an opportunity to integrate themselves into society by attending school, going to work, and becoming a part of the community.

Recipients are not the only ones whose lives are altered by the presence of a wheelchair. When a physically disabled person gains increased mobility human resources, be it from family or friends, are being freed up for both employment and education. The motors in electric wheelchairs are powered by either a wet or dry cell battery.

The batteries in electric wheelchairs are sealed or very low maintenance batteries, also referred to as sealed lead acid batteries (SLA). Wheelchair batteries can be charged overnight using an external electrical source like a charger, or during the daytime hours when not in use so that they can be used whenever necessary. 

Driving Ambitions 

When Sarah Nkgeng, a paraplegic employee of Primedia, wentfor her drivers' licence she met with antagonism and discrimination. 702's Simon Gear shared her story with Wayne Duvenage, chief executive of Avis Rent a Car. He assembled a team of partners and Driving Ambitions was born. "Cars withs pecially adapted hand controls for the disabled are a normal part of our Avis fleet," says Duvenage. "It seemed logical that Avis should be the driving force behind the initiative! I am confident that a school of this nature will go along way to dispelling negative public perception and prejudices about disabled people as well as improving the quality of life for the disabled themselves."

Driving Ambitions provides driver assessment and training for people with disabilities. The first vehicle, a Hyundai i20 with permanent hand controls and a dual brake,was sponsored by Avis. QASA is running the project and have appointed RollingI nspiration's Caroline Rule to assist. Her experiences at Rolling Inspiration led to the establishment of Rolling Rehab where she teaches people to drive specially adapted vehicles.

Barloworld employ many people with disabilities and have contributed R150,000 to get Driving Ambitions' engines revving. "This is anexcellent corporate social investment initiative for corporates, many of which employ disabled people in various positions," says CEO Barloworld Automotive, MartinLaubscher.

"This is just the first phase of a longer-term vision," explains Ari Seirlis, national director of QASA. "As the project expands andmore sponsors come on board, we intend establishing a Centre of Excellence at Swartkops Raceway, where people with a range of mobility impairments can be fully and properly assessed and taught to drive using different types of handcontrols." "This will include a broad spectrum of people with disabilities. This type of centre is quite common in Europe, but a first in South Africa, and it is definitely an excellent solution in assisting people with disabilities to integrate into mainstream society. The employment opportunities arising from the success of this project must also be acknowledged."

Masterdrive, a leading driver education company will assistat the Centre of Excellence. "The track and skidpan at Swartkops will provide excellent facilities for training across a spectrum of eventualities, including potential accidents and hijackings," explains CEO, Eugene Herbert. Sarah is ecstatic. "It's wonderful to know that Driving Ambitions will give other disabled people a new independence and open up opportunities and new dimensions of life for them."