QASA News - VW hands over Caddy to QASA
QASA has a very active driver training program for people with physical disabilities, called Driving Ambitions. Out of this program has come the opportunity for us to participate in a partnership with Volkswagen of South Africa, which involves educating people with mobility impairments on various options of mobility solutions through the Volkswagen Caddy vehicle. Jaco Steenkamp (Division Head), Mike le Grange (National Sales Manager) and Loryn Symons (Brand Coordinator) from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles officially handed over a converted Caddy to QASA at the ACSA Disability Trade Show in Gauteng. QASA will be utilizing this vehicle for a period of 12 months around the country and allowing people with mobility impairments to try out the different configurations, including an AMF Bruns lowered floor and suspension with wheelchair access for a passenger at the rear of the vehicle, an AutoAdapt Turney seat to lift a passenger into the front seat and a VS Hydraulics push-pull hand control to enable a wheelchair user to test drive the vehicle.
QASA members and friends, family and supporters, it’s the time of the year to do a little bit of reflection, of what we have achieved, what we still need to achieve and some of the things which need some of our moral courage and support and resilience.
We have had continued support from our corporate sector relationships and partnerships for our essential projects like our driver training, our skills development programs through our computer training centers and assistive devices distribution.
We have been active participants in the South African Disability Alliance arena which is essential to be part of the collective voice of disability, always reminding ourselves that we are not alone and that other disabilities face so many similar issues of discrimination and have many similar needs for development and integration.
Our events and the return from these seem to grow and grow and thankfully, have proven sustainable which provide valuable revenue streams for our projects.
We continue to focus on prevention and this year marked the launch of our distracted driving campaign, showing the risks of using your mobile phone whilst driving. We will become more vocal in this arena. Of course, will be on the roads this December and January encouraging people to use their seatbelts.
The huge lobby issue which has been high-profile, yet essential, is that of the E-Tolls in Gauteng. We have tried through the courts, and I believe that political interference has seen the legal argument beaten by technicalities. People with disabilities are going to suffer in Gauteng and our opportunity to circulate and be mobile will be reduced by these 45 gantries. Promises of concession and exemption have not come to anything.
Please support me in showing moral and civil courage in this matter. We are being discriminated against as there are no alternatives.
The reality of E tolling is going to be terribly disabling for us with mobility impairments. This is the time that we must stand tall against this system of taxation or ensure we get free passage through the system whether we own a vehicle or not.
Wishing everybody a wonderful festive season filled with love and friendship.
243 wheelchairs donated by Bidvest
Bidvest, in collaboration with the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), have donated 243 wheelchairs to paraplegics in needy communities across South Africa. This gift of mobility is the result of the sore muscles and aching legs of over 59 000 Bidvest employees, their families and members of the media who heeded the call to walk for those who can’t at the annual Bidvest Unity Walk on the 18th of August.
Bidvest employees, who made up 17 341 of the total participants, from across the group will to change the lives of the mobility impaired South Africans. For every 75 employees who walked in one of the four Unity Walk events – Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban or Johannesburg – Bidvest pledged to donate a wheelchair to QASA.
QASA CEO, Ari Seirlis, explained that the need for wheelchairs is most keenly felt in rural and disadvantaged communities and it was paraplegics in these communities that would benefit from the generous efforts of the Bidvest Unity Walk’s participants. “There are few opportunities in these communities, even fewer for those unable to get around. Giving the gift of mobility changes lives, it gives people who did not have it before, a sense of independence.”
Brian Joffe, Bidvest CE, was overwhelmed by the support of the group’s employees, families, celebrity guests and media. “Every year the Bidvest Unity Walk grows, allowing us to touch more lives. With this gift of 243 wheelchairs, Bidvest employees know that they are making a radical difference in many lives. We believe in empowering people and improving lives.”
QASA’s AGM a success
The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) hosted their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at theqasa-annual-general-meeting Gateway Hotel on Saturday, 14 September. The proposed changes to the constitution were approved, resulting in an optimistic atmosphere for the year ahead. The quadriplegic and paraplegic members of QASA also presented their financial plan. QASA CEO, Ari Seirlis, gave a positive overview of the past year and 2014. The weekend started off on a fun note with all delegates attending the 80’s vs.90’s Barnyard Theatre production. QASA looks forward to another successful year.
Two more success stories
Congratulations to Noxolo Mathebe, a paraplegic from Boksburg, and Mdu Nhlebela, a paraplegic from Centurion for passing their driver’s licenses on QASA’s Driving Ambitions program. Well done!