Free state dept of social development hosts a disability awareness day

Africa: The Department hosted a Disability Awareness Day as part of launching Public Service Month and celebrating Casual Day at the Provincial Office under the theme 'Revitalizing Batho Pele, Walk the Talk'.

Africa: The Department hosted a Disability Awareness Day as part of launching Public Service Month and celebrating Casual Day at the Provincial Office under the theme ‘Revitalizing Batho Pele, Walk the Talk’.

This awareness was hosted by the Service Delivery Improvement and Customer Care Unit and led by the Acting HOD Adv. T.J Pahlo. The programme’s activities were conducted by an Occupational Therapist from Universitas Hospital.

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The aim of this awareness session was to practice, to know, acknowledge and accept individuals’ experiences as they relate to their disability. Knowing, being aware, and moving beyond our level of comfort is key to a greater understanding as well.

An employee with disabilities shared her experiences working for the Department, both the prejudice and the success tales. She requested for the inclusion of people with disabilities in bursary programmes so they can further their education.

She also requested the management to have compassion when it comes to their subordinates with disabilities.

The Occupational Therapist educated the audience on what disability is and on their role in supporting people with disabilities.

There were five different activities (obstacle challenges) aimed at getting officials to experience what it is like to have a disability. These activities included being blindfolded to experience blindness, making use of one arm to experience stroke, standing with one leg to experience an amputee, using a wheelchair to experience being paralyzed, etc.

Whilst the activities were fun, management and officials got to experience what people with disabilities experience daily as well as to appreciate how activities that seem easy when done by people with disabilities were actually very difficult.

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The Department prides itself on not only employing more than 5% of people with disabilities but on creating an enabling environment to allow them to function independently and efficiently.