Ricochet News

VIDEO: APD, NMBM give back to physically disabled in 168-wheelchair handover

By Marc Jacobson - Sep 20, 2017
VIDEO: APD, NMBM give back to physically disabled in 168-wheelchair handover

In partnership with the Associations for persons with Physical Disabilities (APD) and the ‘Network of Caring’ foundation, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) handed over a total 168 wheelchairs to needy beneficiaries from around NMB at the iconic NMB Stadium on Wednesday morning.

The SPAR ‘Wheelchair Wednesday’, which was launched by the APD, and requires able persons to wheel around in a wheelchair for four hours on the given day, was endeavoured by NMB Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip on the day of the handover.

The Wheelchair Collection Campaign conducted by the APD, which aimed to collect its target of 150 wheelchairs, also came to an end on the same day, and saw their target exceeded, with 168 disabled ‘VIP’ recipients comforted in their new wheelchairs at the handover.

The APD also managed to exceed targets when they collected 668 wheelchairs in their six-year objective leading up to 2017, involving in excess 1300 participants. They have also managed to raise much-needed funds for the APD workshops, which totalled to R483 611.89 in their provisional projected profit.

“Education, opportunity and empowerment, doesn’t come any better than our [NMB] very own APD, which has been a champion of residence with disabilities for decades,” Mayor Trollip said at the handover, while strapped into his own wheelchair.

“As the municipality, we take a very broad and encompassing approach to improving the plight of people with disabilities in our communities, especially those from previously disadvantaged communities.”

With education setting the yard stick, Trollip also advocated the importance in enhancing the skills of the youth with poverty-stricken backgrounds, as well as the youth with disabilities.

“We want to help improve the conditions in township schools, and we have launched many programs focusing on poverty alleviation, skilling of the youth, and also youth with disabilities, all for crime prevention,” he said.

Trollip also took a moment to commend his fellow board of councillors for also taking part in their own four-hour ‘Wheelchair Wednesday’ stints, upon which to instil a level of perspective for making the city “more wheelchair-friendly and more attentive to the needs of people living with disabilities.”

“If you’re physically disabled in this city, we will make this city more accessible to you, so that you can become a ‘tourist’ in your own city.”

“The NMBM will also be looking at other tourist attractions [apart from the revamped wheelchair-friendly Campanile] to ensure that they’re all wheelchair-friendly, so that everyone who has mobility challenges, will be afforded the chance to access the attractions of this city,” Trollip said.

The Mayor also called on all corporates and/or stakeholders to prioritize all matters to residents suffering from physical disabilities in order for them to enjoy their equal rights to accessibility and participation in society. This includes, but is not limited to, job and business opportunities, as well as representations in the mayoral office.   

Watch to get a view of the wheelchair handover at the NMB Stadium on Wednesday morning.