The majority of our candidates at the Driving Ambitions Programme have a mobility impairment related to being paraplegic or quadriplegic.
One very inspiring candidate driver, Jappie Thulo, entered our Driver Training Programme in February and is looking forward to taking his driving test at the end of May.
Jappie,who has a rare congenital deformity (that allows him the use of only one armand one finger), has mastered the driving of our adapted vehicle with incredible ease. His Driver Trainer, Pat Allen, who had never trained a person with this type of impairment before has (as she says) been"blown away" with how quickly he has progressed.
Jappie managed to complete his yard work during his very first lesson - showing incredible dexterity in his alley docking and turning. Driving in quiet, residential suburbs soon left them both bored and he progressed onto driving in traffic and the freeway, experienced his first traffic jam and returned to the parking area both tired and triumphant.
Cedric Mkhize played rugby for the Sharks in the Super 15 series before a tragic motor vehicle accident ended his rugby career (see RI July/August 2010).
In April of this year QASA’s Ari Seirlis took Cedric for a ride on his quadbike and Cedric loved it! In fact, Cedric loved it so much that he has joined the QASA team for the Quads 4 Quads 2012 ride later this year!
InApril QASA's Project Tshedza, in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), delivered hearing aids to five delighted learners (ranging in age from 8 - 15 years) who attend The Fulton School for the Deaf in Durban. The hearing aids will open new doors for the learners to achieve their full potential in life, many of whom who have struggled without suchequipment in the past.
Project Tshedza (meaning "light"in Tshivenda) is an initiative launched in 2011. Project Tshedza enables and empowers people with disabilities by providing access to life changing Assistive Devices and Mobility Aids. The DBSA has undertaken to provide funding for the next four years in support this project to develop people with disabilities.
QASA Stands Tall
QASA joined the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) as the 2nd applicant in the High Court application against SANRAL and the Department ofTransport for an interdict to stop the eTolling Programme.
Theposition of QASA was supported by the South African Disability Alliance (SADA)and we insisted that no consultation was done with the disability sector and thatthere are no alternatives to using the roads as there is no accessible public transport.
On 28 April, Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled in favour of the applicants QASA and OUTA and the eTolling programme has now been stopped, with a full review of the programme ordered.
Thisis a major victory for civil society and a brave victory for QASA. We will now have the opportunity to engage with SANRAL and the Department of Transport to find an equitable solution to the transport issues for people with disabilities.
QASA CEO, Ari Seirlis: "We do not want to celebrate this victory in the face of government, as we value our relationship with government to be extremely important. However, we also reserve our right to challenge injustices. QASA will strive to find solutions for our members inorder to ensure accessible and affordable transportoptions."
One Step at a Time
This was how quadriplegic, Mark Charlesworth, conquered 550 steps to walk to the top of Durban's Moses Mabhida stadium arch way.
After a serious car accident in 2004, Mark was told he had broken his neck and would never walk again. Determined not to accept the doctor's prognosis Mark has spent the last seven years hard at work in physiotherapy, gym and occupational therapy in the hope of walking again. It has been a long road to recovery but Mark now uses a walker instead of a wheelchair, enjoys driving an automatic car and even runs his own IT company.
As a way of saying "thank you" for the support, he has received since his accident, Mark used his walk up the 550 steps to raise funds for charities including QASA, the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Fund, the Highway Hospice and VEMA.