News From Qasa

Andries Olivier Durbanville

Quadriplegic Centre

In the early 1990s a quadriplegic called Andries Olivier dreamed of starting a self-help centre in the Durbanville area.

Andries successfully negotiated with the Durbanville council for a piece of land and, being an avid draughtsman, drew plans for a self-help centre. At the same time an accessible house in Kuils River was rented as a temporary home to house five quadriplegics.

Andries fell ill and passed away before the Durbanville house could be built but the QAWC, and his very good friends Danny and Alta Retief, made it their goal to ensure that their friend’s dream became reality.

And so, after many challenges, on 30 August, 2001 the Andries Olivier Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre opened its doors.

The centre is home to 12 permanent residents and also has two guestrooms where wheelchair users can stay for a period of up to one month. As it is situated very close to the Durbanville town centre the residents can regularly be spotted in the town shops. Over the years the centre has received tremendous support from the Durbanville community and the residents of the centre have become a part of the Durbanville community.

In order to raise funds the Centre has held concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the South African music industry including Kurt Darren, Gerrie Pretorius, Nianell and Juanita du Plessis.

The centre has a club 500 project which brings in a steady monthly income and they also host an annual golf day amongst other fund raising projects throughout the year.

The smooth running of the centre requires commitment from each and every resident. All residents have at least one responsibility within the house making the effectiveness of House Andries Olivier a team effort.

Four of the residents of House Andries Olivier go out to work each and every day. Their careers vary and include an engineer, a data capturer, a project manager and a human resource manager. Three of our residents are students with the Mouth and Foot Painters Association whose artwork has reached tremendous heights.

QASA and Study Bursaries

There is a general lack of skills amongst persons with disabilities and one of QASA’s main focus areas is that of developing the skills of persons with disabilities as well as their employment potential.

Each year QASA allocates funds from its operating budget to pay for members to obtain a qualification, in the field of their choice, at an institution of their choice.

The QASA bursary fund, known as the Neville Cohen Memorial Education Fund, was established in 1999 has aided more than 60 members to further their studies in a range of fields - from High School right up to Post Graduate level.

During 2009 QASA sponsored nine students who studied Human Resource Management, Psychology, Law, Web Design, Accounting, Grade 11 and Matric.

The Neville Cohen Education Fund would like to help more people with disabilities to further their studies, obtain qualifications and a brighter future.

Applicants must be members of QASA and must first obtain the approval of their regional QuadPara Association, who will forward the request to the QASA National Office . The final decision will be made by QASA management.

 

Tackling Access Issues

The implementation of The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has a long way to go with most South Africans with disabilities unable to move freely from their homes, not able to use public transport nor enter public buildings.

Acting on a mandate from the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) to deal with access issues, QASA and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPPDSA) have formed the National Access Authority (NAA), a co-ordinating body on access issues and information portal for accessibility information.

NAA have employed an Access Officer to carry out the core functions of NAA, to solicit and investigate queries on access problems, inspect transgressions of the National Building Regulations and resolve any other problems experienced by persons with disabilities in the physical environment. The Access Officer will also source and library information on access for distribution and on request from any person.

It is aimed that the Access Officer will also formulate a national parking disc policy, collect and manage a database of accessible tourism destinations and stimulate public awareness of access issues.

Jeremy Deysel, was appointed as the QASA / NPCCDSA Access Officer and commenced his duties on the 1st of February 2010. Jeremy has been actively involved in the disability sector for 2 years and is excited about his role as Access Officer as it combines his passion for both the disability sector and accessibility.

Jeremy aspires to coordinate access standards in South Africa, create database of access auditors and respond to individuals access issues on a daily basis. Jeremy envisages working hand in hand with government, businesses, professional associations and NGOs creating partnerships, awareness and acceptance of the rights of persons with disabilities. Jeremy dreams of an accessible South Africa and plans to be actively involved in the preparation of new buildings and restructuring of existing buildings for accessibility for all. Lobbying for the rights of persons with disabilities is also part of his agenda.

 

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