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Annual Reports 2020

QuadPara Association Western Cape General Manager annual report 2019-2020

If you would like to download a Pdf of the above Annual Report, please click on the link below:

QAWC General Manager Annual Report 2019 – 2020

Click on the images to enlarge

Villa Haven

The office, boardroom and training centre of the QuadPara Association Western Cape (QAWC) continue to be housed at the QASA owned property situated at 5 New Haven Street Durbanville which is referred to as “Villa Haven.” The QAWC team worked from the offices on the premises, the boardroom played host to numerous meetings and presentations and the computer training room was the base from which the successful Work Readiness Program operated. All lessons for Driving Ambitions started and ended at Villa Haven, with the Driving Ambitions vehicle stationed at the facility. All this meant that Villa Haven was a hive of activity from Monday to Friday with QAWC staff, members, partners and WRP candidates going about their activities. The two-bedroom accommodation section of Villa Haven was rented out, which not only ensured that there were people on the premises at all times, but also generated important unrestricted funds for the organisation.  We are very grateful to the armed response company, Zonewatch, who provided their armed response service to us at no cost and to the garden service, Garden on Call, who maintained the garden at Villa Haven free of charge. Over the course of the year various maintenance work was done and we added a new gate to restrict access to the back of the property and built an awning over the entrance to the bathroom and computer training room. An air conditioning unit was installed in the computer training room in order to keep candidates comfortable in both summer and winter. QASA arranged for a donation of an inverter and 13 solar panels which means that the electricity usage of the facility will be greatly reduced, saving us money and reducing our carbon footprint. All in all this property was well utilised and has proved to be the base from which all QAWC programs, projects and services are run.Buckle Up

Work Readiness Program (WRP)

QAWC was pleased and proud to play host to the Work Readiness Program (WRP), QASA’s flagship project which was launched on 1 April 2019. WRP candidates travelled to the QAWC office from Monday to Friday for a period of 8 weeks where they attended lectures and presentations in the Computer Training Centre. Under the watchful eye of QASA’s trainer in the Western Cape, Chadley Muller, candidates were developed and given the opportunity to learn various new skills all of which were geared towards making them “Work Ready” by graduation. Various guest speakers were invited to address the candidates. Relationships with strategic partners were developed, including with employers such as Takealot, Distell, Mediclinic and Edcon. Disability Sensitisation Training was offered to these partners in order to educate staff members and prepare them to welcome a person with a disability into their working environment. Throughout the duration of the WRP, candidates are equipped with skills which will assist them to integrate into the workplace and operate in a professional manner. Over the last 12 months a total of 26 candidates attended the WRP with 5 securing full-time employment, 7 taking up intern positions and one candidate starting their own business.

Sadly, the arrival of Covid-19 meant that the WRP had to be placed on hold in the interests of the health and safety of our members and staff before the lockdown was even implemented. During the lockdown, QASA invested time and resources into investigating a viable long-term solution for the WRP. QASA has decided that the future of the WRP will be online, meaning that candidates can participate from their own homes, in an environment that is already accessible and where they have access to their care and support. It also means that people from all over the country can participate in this innovative program. Unfortunately this all means that QAWC’s involvement in the WRP is going to be very limited moving forward as QASA themselves will take responsibility for all aspects of the WRP. After being involved in the initial planning and rollout of the WRP, QAWC is disappointed that we will not be hands on and actively involved in the WRP anymore, however we look forward to QAWC members continuing to benefit from this program in the future and finding meaningful employment.

Awareness Campaign

The Department of Social Development have funded this program for a number of years, with this programAwareness Campaign becoming a big part of the culture of QAWC. Our team of 4 wheelchair users visited schools in Kraaifontein, Delft, Vredendal, Lutzville and Klawer. During the presentations, the QAWC team educate learners about the dangers of antisocial and irresponsible behaviour and lifestyle choices, such as substance abuse, gang activities and driving under the influence of alcohol. Our team members share their stories with the learners and educate those present on how to speak to and interact with a person who uses a wheelchair. The talents of the team are also shared with the learners, with 2 learners being selected to negotiate their way around their school using a wheelchair. The presentation and the associated activities are popular with learners and teachers alike and our team was regularly asked to return again in the future to speak to more learners. Over the last 12 months, our team visited 11 schools and presented to 2818 learners. This program too was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic with visits to schools in the Southern Cape having to be postponed. We look forward to the resumption of this program when it is safe to do so.

Driving Ambitions Rural

With QASA’s Driving Ambitions program running successfully in Cape Town, the need for wheelchair users livingDriving Ambitions Rural outside of the Cape Metropole to have the opportunity to access this program was identified. Thanks to funding received from the Australian Governments Direct Aid Programme, QAWC was able to offer this very opportunity to members. The programme saw members from as far afield as Langebaan, Hermanus, George and Port Elizabeth secure their learners license in their home towns before travelling to Cape Town where they were accommodated at the Andries Olivier Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre. While in Cape Town, these members joined the Driving Ambitions program, taking driving lessons with Theuns, the Driving Ambitions driving instructor. All in all we had a total of 6 members make use of this opportunity, with 3 members going on to get their driver’s license.

Volunteer from AVP

QAWC were delighted to have the opportunity to continue to host Lowri Williams, a volunteer through theVolunteer From AVP 1 Australian Volunteer Program (AVP) from Sydney Australia. Lowri’s 1st assignment with QAWC ran from October 2017-November 2018 and we were excited to have her rejoin our team from February-December 2019. Lowri, who fulfilled the position of QAWC Program Manager, brought a fresh energy to the QAWC team and proved to be popular with members, management and staff members. Lowri took the lead with a number of our programs, including QAWC’s role in the WRP, the significant review of the QAWCVolunteer from AVP 2 constitution, VoQoL, Buckle up Rural, Driving Ambitions Rural, QAWC Social Media and was always prepared to help out where ever necessary, adding tremendous value to each task and program that she was involved in. We were very proud to witness Lowri’s personal growth and development in the time that she was with us. It was an absolute pleasure hosting her and while we were very sad to see her return to Australia in December, we remain grateful to her for the impact that she had on QAWC programs and projects, QAWC members as well as the QAWC team. The QAWC team remain in touch with Lowri and are following her progress in Australia closely. QAWC continues to work with AVP, participating in webinars and other opportunities. Before Covid-19 arrived in South Africa we were in the process of applying for a new Volunteer, this has however been put on hold for the time being but will be revisited when AVP resume activities.

Life Rehabilitation at Vincent Pallotti

Therapists at Life Rehabilitation at Vincent Pallotti regularly contact QAWC to request peer support visits to newly injured individuals who are going through their rehabilitation programme. Once the QAWC office has been contacted by the therapists, a suitable QAWC member is contacted who then visits the newly injured individual, sharing experiences, information and giving basic advice. The therapists at Life Rehabilitation are grateful for the relationship that exists with QAWC and we in turn are grateful to members who make themselves available for these visits.

Pre-discharge meetings at WCRC

Every 6 weeks a representative from QAWC was asked to speak to the inpatients at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC) who are close to discharge and returning to their homes in the community. The QAWC representative made use of the opportunity to introduce the organisation to these individuals, explaining the various programs, projects and services offered by QAWC. The team at the WCRC place a lot of emphasis and importance on these visits by QAWC and we welcome the opportunity to introduce our programs, projects and services to newly injured individuals very early on in their journey as a wheelchair user.

Disability Sensitisation Training

QAWC continued to be asked to present Disability Sensitisation Training to various companies and organisations,Disability Sensitisation Training including HG Travelling, Protea Hotel Knysna Quays & Protea Hotel Saldanha Bay, Mediclinic, South African Medical Research Council, Edcon and others. People with disabilities continue to experience prejudice and inequality in their communities and in the workplace and as such QAWC has conducted numerous successful Disability Sensitisation Training workshops which sees those who attend taught the correct and appropriate way to approach, interact and deal with people with disabilities. The training aims to open the mind of those who attend, change mindsets and to get them to see the value that people with disabilities have to offer. Our training has proved to be very popular, with most organisations requesting that we return to facilitate additional training sessions with more of their staff. Delegates leave the training with a better understanding of what disability is and are more aware, understanding and accommodating of the needs of people with disabilities.

Newlands Cricket Ground

The 2019-2020 cricket season marked the 14th year that QAWC has been given the exclusive use of a suite atNewlands Cricket Ground 1 Newlands Cricket Ground by the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) for the use of our members. Suite P317, which is situated at the Wynberg end of the ground, was once again allocated to QAWC to use for all matches at the stadium. At the start ofNewlands Cricket Ground 2 the season members were sent a fixture list as well as dates to phone in to apply for tickets for each match. With England and Australia visiting South Africa, tickets were at a premium and we received tremendous interest in the tickets, receiving more applications than tickets available. A lucky draw was done to ensure that everyone had an equal opportunity of obtaining tickets. We were very pleased to welcome a number of members to the suite for the 1st time, all of whom thoroughly enjoyed themselves and vowed to be back in the future. In a season when demand from paying fans for tickets at the cricket was extremely high amongst members of the public, we were particularly grateful to the WPCA for ignoring the temptation to cash in on the commercial opportunity of allocating the suite to tour companies in favour of supporting wheelchair using members in the Western Cape.HWSETA Intern 1

HWSETA Intern

HWSETA Intern 2Thanks to a partnership between QASA and the HWSETA, QAWC had the opportunity to host an intern for the period of a year. After a selection process, the position was offered to Nazeem Kahn. Initially Nazeem worked closely with Lowri, the QAWC Program Manager and when Lowri returned to Australia, Nazeem took over her responsibilities. Nazeem has proved to be an asset to QAWC adding value to the team and always tackling his tasks with enthusiasm.

Self-Help Centres

There are 3 residential facilities that fall under the QAWC umbrella. These facilities are normally referred to as Self-Self-Help Centres 1Help Centres as it is the residents of these facilities who are responsible for the day-to-day running, management and sustainability of each Self-Help Centre. All 3 of our Self-Help Centres are situated in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, with Quasar, which accommodates 7 wheelchair users, situated in Parow. The Andries Olivier Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre is in the centre of Durbanville and is home to 10 quadriplegics and paraplegics, while the Masonic Home for quadriplegics and paraplegics, which is in Uitzicht a suburb of Durbanville, accommodates 7 wheelchair users. Each Self-Help Centre isSelf-Help Centres 2 unique in character and has its own culture and way of doing things. These facilities Self-Help Centres 3offer permanent accommodation and care to their adult quadriplegic and paraplegic residents, offering a homely environment where residents regain a level of independence while developing themselves and improving their circumstances. Ensuring sustainability of these Centres was a challenge before Covid-19 and the restrictions on movement, gatherings and curfews imposed during the lockdown have had serious implications for their financial well-being. However, despite these challenges, the 3 self-help centres continue to provide a much-needed service of a very high level to the residents who are fortunate enough to call these Centres home.

QAWC Newsletter

The newsletter published by QAWC on a quarterly basis and sent out to members, partners and supporters has proved to be very popular with members and a useful tool to keep members up to date with what is taking place in the organisation. The newsletter is also posted on our website along with archived copies which presents the opportunity for people to see who we are and get a feel for the organisation. The quarterly newsletter now plays a significant role in our communication strategy, ensuring that members are kept up to date with latest developments and are aware of the opportunities available to them through being members of QAWC.

QAWC Facebook page

QAWC activity on social media continues to be mainly on Facebook, with our page currently sporting a total of 1156QAWC Facebook page likes. This has grown significantly from 841 likes 12 months ago, with the page experiencing more activity than previously thanks to posts being made on a minimum of a daily basis.  Our Facebook posts range from being informative, funny, newsworthy, motivational and an update on our activities. We also run the occasional competition on Facebook. Nazeem, QAWC’s intern, has taken over responsibility for the QAWC Facebook page from Lowri and continues to do an excellent job.

Correspondence to Members

Esme, the QAWC Administration Manager sends out regular e-mails to all QAWC members who have e-mailCorrespondence To Members addresses. These e-mails, which contain various opportunities, offers and news, are sent out using the mass mail program, Mail Chimp which allows us to track and analyse all mail sent. We believe it is important to stay in regular contact with our members in this way. QAWC will, on occasion make contact with all members by making use of SMS messages. This is reserved for the most important and vital communications. These 2 methods of communicating with members, coupled with social media ensures that members are able to be kept up-to-date with the goings-on in their organisation.

QAWC Vehicles

With transport an ongoing challenge for wheelchair users, the 3 vehicles in the QAWC fleet play a very important role within the organisation. Our fleet, which is ageing, consists of a Toyota Quantum and a Nissan Interstar, both of which are fitted with wheelchair hoists and wheelchair restraint systems which ensure that wheelchair users are loaded with ease and transported in a safe and secure manner. These 2 vehicles offer support to many of the QAWC programs and projects and have travelled across the length and breadth of the province. The 3rd vehicle in the fleet, a Toyota Yaris, is fitted with hand controls and can be used for driver education. The vehicle is also utilised by QAWC staff when attending off-site meetings, functions or promotional activities. The 3 vehicles ensure that the QAWC team are mobile and play a huge role in the success of our activities.

Buckle up-Road Safety Campaign

Thanks to funding received from the Australian High Commission, we were able to deploy our team of wheelchairBuckle Up-Road Safety Campaign users to the Winelands Engen Garage for a total of 5 days. On these days QAWC deployed 3 wheelchair users and 2 assistants who undertook the task of engaging with members of the Buckle Up-Road Safety Campaign public and drivers of vehicles in particular, reminding them of the importance to wear their seat belts.  These members of the public were then asked to sign a pledge in which they committed to “buckle up” and to not text while driving. In return, QAWC team members handed a branded licence disc to each person who signed the pledge form, which not only serves as a long-term reminder of the need to take road safety seriously, but also exposed our brand to members of the public. All in all, our team received pledges from a total of 601 members of the public. Unfortunately plans to partner with QASA to deploy teams for more days at this garage in the buildup to the Easter weekend had to be postponed because of the Covid 19 pandemic. As it is not currently safe to deploy our team members to interact with members of the public this program is on hold, however, it will resume as soon as it is once again safe to do so.

Buckle up-Rural

Funding received from the Australian Government through their Direct Aid Programme allowed QAWC to expandBuckle Up-Rural the Buckle Up road safety initiative to reach road users across the province. Thanks to our existing relationships with many APD branches, wheelchair users were deployed in George, Oudtshoorn, Hermanus, Vredendal/Klawer, Worcester and Ceres. The expanded programme meant that members in areas outside of the Metropole were also able to participate in this popular campaign. In total our team was deployed for 33 days with a grand total of 1310 pledges being signed by road using members of the public. While the Buckle Up programme exists to raise awareness about road safety and prevent new spinal cord injuries, it also provided temporary employment to 34 wheelchair users and 25 carers and spread our footprint and impact across most of the province.

Care Attendant Training and Well-Being with the Road Accident Fund

The importance of the role that carers play in the lives of wheelchair users cannot be underestimated and is recognised by the Road Accident Fund (RAF) whose Corporate Social Investment (CSI) department partnered with QAWC to improve the skill base and knowledge of carers of RAF claimants. QAWC hosted a training/informationCare Attendant Training and Well-Being with the Road Accident Fund session in Stellenbosch which was attended by 24 caregivers who received some theoretical training. In the previous financial year the process of having accredited training developed was started by the RAF CSI Department with 2 trainers being sent to learn how to do the training from QAWC. These 2 trainers, Nokulunga Mdingi a QAWC member who is a qualified nursing sister and Pumla Care Attendant Training and Well-Being with the Road Accident FundMkaza underwent training to equip them with the skills and knowledge to conduct this training. We were excited to be able to host a very successful training session that was attended by 27 carers in the library at the WCRC on 18 October 2019.  This training session was a resounding success, with the trainers sharing information in a practical and enjoyable manner. More training sessions had been planned for this year but due to the Covid 19 pandemic these have been postponed until it is safe to resume.  The RAF CSI Department asked QAWC to host an event for the carers of RAF Claimants in order to celebrate and recognise the vital role played by caregivers. An event which consisted of a lecture on pressure care and pressure wounds, tips on how to maintain a healthy caregiver/client relationship, a motivational address, an awards ceremony, live entertainment and a delicious meal took place at Klein Joostenberg just outside of Stellenbosch on 29 November 2019.  The function was attended by 24 carers and the wheelchair user who they assist and was a massive success.

International Volunteers DayInternational Volunteers Day

Volunteers have played a huge role in QAWC over the years so when the opportunity came to recognise these volunteers by hosting an event on International Day of the Volunteer (5 December) we jumped at it. Using funds received from AVP, we hosted 50 people who joined us to celebrate the impact of volunteers on our organisation. With Lowri, our Volunteer from Australia still with us at this point, we took time out to pay tribute to the contribution that she made to QAWC over the 2 years she volunteered at QAWC. The roles of other volunteers, including QAWC Board members was acknowledged and celebrated. Everyone present enjoyed a delicious spit braai lunch and were grateful for the opportunity to properly acknowledge and appreciate the roles that volunteers play in not only our organisation but the community as a whole.

Partnerships and Relationships

QAWC places great emphasis on developing and maintaining strong partnerships and relationships within the disability sector, provincial and local governments, service clubs and companies.Our General Manager continues to serve as the Chairperson of the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC) a facility that is vital to the well-beingPartnerships and Relationships of our members. This allows the voice and needs of the QAWC members to be heard at a high level and ensure that the facility continues to offer quality services to people with mobility impairments.  At the AGM of the Western Cape Network on Disability which was held in September, the QAWC General Manager was elected to be Chairperson of the Network which is made up of 72 organisations from across the Western Cape who provide support, services and programs to the families of and persons with disabilities. This relationship ensures that QAWC stays up-to-date with trends within the disability sector, has access to new information regarding disability, meet with various officials and politicians at local and provincial level and can take a leading role in disability issues in the province. QAWC enjoys a strong relationship with many of the APD branches across the Province who assist us to share information with wheelchair users in their communities. This means that we are able to be in touch with members in areas such as George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Hermanus, Ceres, Vredendal and Worcester.  Our General Manager has developed a good working relationship with the Department of Social Development Western Cape, working with them on the drafting of various policies as well as other engagements. A meeting was held with the MEC for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, with a separate meeting with Denzel Cowley & Patiswa Momoza, the Head of the Disability Program at DSD taking place virtually. The Provincial Disability Desk post was filled by Nomvuyo Mabusela in March and despite the Covid 19 crisis, our General Manager has had a meeting with her and we are looking forward to working closely together in the future.  QAWC enjoys a healthy relationship with SALGA (South African Local Government Association) working with and advising them from time to time. We have good relations with various municipality’s including the Matzikama, City of Cape Town, George, Swartland and Drakenstein Municipalities. QAWC has also served on the organising committee of the 2020 Afrinead Conference which will take place from 30 November-3 December this year.  We met with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) who expressed interest in partnering with QAWC on our various road safety campaigns. This too has been put on hold because of Covid 19.  All of these relationships are extremely valuable to QAWC, enabling us to represent our members on various platforms and ensuring that the voice of our members is heard where it really counts. We are also able to be at the forefront of advocacy and lobbying in the province as we constantly strive to fight for the rights of and improve the lives of our members.  

Selected other QAWC activities from the last year

  • Meeting with Alderman Felicity Purchase, Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport
  • visits to wheelchair users at Living Hope
  • Lecture to University of Stellenbosch 3rd year dietetic students
  • meeting with Department of Public Works regarding the accessibility of government buildings
  • meeting with Department of public Works regarding the accessibility of the Artscape Theatre
  • Attended engagement with PRASA hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce
  • Attended webinar with the MEC for Transport hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce
  • Attended workshop hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce on NPO sustainability
  • visits to wheelchair users at Nurture Newlands Rehabilitation
  • presented at an AVP webinar, explaining the process and highlighting the positives of hosting a Volunteer
  • attended webinar titled “Steering an organisation through a crisis”
  • attended webinar titled “Risk Adjustment Lockdown Strategy”
  • attended and supported QASA at the Neurological Bladder Management Workshop
  • facilitated workshop in Moorreesburg to establish a disability strategy with the municipality
  • engagement with the Wellington spinal cord injury group
  • provided transport to WRP candidates to attend rugby
  • provided transport to a group of wheelchair users from Stellenbosch for an event
  • Driving Ambitions information day at the WCRC
  • Driving Ambitions information day at Life Rehabilitation@Vincent Pallotti
  • participated in Department of Health consultative workshop on Universal Health Care
  • attended Department of Health workshop on the proposed National Health Insurance
  • spoke at Department of Correctional Services International Day of Persons with Disabilities event at Allendale prison
  • attended Coloplast launch of SpeediCath in Cape Town
  • spoke on Radio Pulpit & Radio Tygerburg
  • Coloplast catheter/bladder management training took place at all 3 self-help centres
  • participated in the QASA strategic planning session
  • participated in the City of Cape Town International Day Of Persons with Disabilities celebration
  • celebrated International Spinal Cord Injuries Day
  • attended Disability Employment Summit
  • attended employment workshop hosted by WiIN

Casual Day

QAWC members have traditionally been tremendous supporters of the annual Casual Day campaign, and 2019 was no different with members and staff of QAWC working together in order to sell a total of 13 801 Casual Day stickers.Casual Day In 2019 Casual Day took place on 6 September and the theme was TIME TO SHINE.  Having been the 2nd best performing QASA region in 2018, QAWC was delighted to regain our position as the best performing QASA region in 2019 by selling more stickers than all the other regions.  Unfortunately Covid 19 has impacted on Casual Day as well, with this year’s campaign being moved from its regular position of the 1st Friday of September and will be taking place on 3 December 2020. We look forward to our members getting behind this year’s campaign and making it a resounding success.

Tekkie Tax

The 2020 Tekkie Tax campaign has been postponed, taking place on 31 July because of the Covid 19 pandemic. The restrictions in place because of the lockdown made QAWC reconsider our involvement in this year’s campaign which will be limited to the selling of laces only. We look forward to being able to put significant time and effort into the Tekkie Tax initiative in 2021.

Governance

The QAWC Board undertook to review or implement policies throughout the year, with a Code of Conduct for Board Members the 1st to receive attention and be adopted. Various operational policies such as the QAWC Leave Policy, Transport Policy and Fundraising Policy were reviewed. QAWC submitted various reports to both the provincial and national Department of Social Development ensuring that we remain compliant with National DSD, complying with the NPO Act. The QAWC Board met monthly, moving from face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings once Covid 19 restricted movement and gatherings, with Board members engaging in healthy discussion and debate. The QAWC staff would like to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to the outgoing QAWC Chairperson, Glenn Millen, whose 2nd term of office comes to a close. Glenn has indicated that he will not be available to serve for another term and will be handing over the reins. Thank you Glenn for your support and leadership, your contribution has been appreciated.

QASAQASA

Richard Barron and Anthony Ghillino were elected at last year’s QAWC AGM to represent QAWC on the QASA Board. At the 1st meeting of the QASA Board, Richard was elected to the position of QASA Treasurer. There was a significant change at the helm of QASA, with the tenure of Ari Seirlis, the long-serving CEO coming to an end due to health issues. Raven Benny, a former Chairperson of QAWC was appointed to the position of COO, a position he has filled since August 2019. The QASA and QAWC offices worked closely together to offer various programs and services, with the Work Readiness Program and Driving Ambitions 2 of the more prominent programs. QAWC members made good use of the various QASA programs and projects on offer, receiving the following assistance:

  • SABAT battery project (13)
  • Education fund (1)
  • Sports fund (73)
  • Assistive devices fund (2)
  • Rolling Inspiration magazine (23)
  • Bags of Hope (all new spinal cord injuries before discharge from rehabilitation)
  • Various of the QASA publications

Driving AmbitionsDriving Ambitions

The opportunity to regain independence by learning to drive and securing a driver’s license was made available to QAWC members through the QASA Driving Ambitions program. Making use of the QASA Honda Jazz which is fitted with hand controls, members went for driving lessons with Theuns the approved driving instructor. Over the course of the year 6 members joined the programme, with 3 securing their driver’s license. Currently on hold because of Covid 19, we look forward to this programme resuming in the near future.

The OCC in George

The annual OCC wheelchair race which is held in the middle of February in George has proved to be a highlight on the calendar of wheelchair users in the Province and South Africa. The race now draws competitors from countries throughout Africa with many athletes using the race to qualify for the Paralympics. This year saw QAWC and QASAThe OCC in George work together to send a small team to George where we had a presence over the race weekend. We set up a stand at the race registration on Friday 14 February and then in the race village on race day on Saturday 15th February. QAWC took the opportunity to reconnect with existing members and also to sign up new members to the organisation. We highlighted the programs and projects of both QAWC and QASA and made use of the opportunity to inform wheelchair users of the organisation’s activities. We also ran a Facebook competition over the race weekend which was a success, with Fizel De Vries being the winner.

Covid 19-Response and Relief

The arrival of Covid 19 has changed the world as we know it for ever, forcing QAWC to change the way that we do things and look for innovative solutions. QAWC identified the need for a prompt response to the crisis, immediately putting preventative measures in place to safeguard QAWC staff and looking for ways to offer support to our members. Some of the ways in which we supported our members included:

  • provided letters explaining the need for caregivers of quadriplegics and paraplegics to be able to travel during the lockdown
  • provided letters to members explaining the need for them to travel to their day hospital to get their chronic medication.
  • circulated an opportunity for food vouchers from the Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Charitable Trust which a number of our members made use of.
  • contacted funders to request permission to re-purpose funding in order to offer relief to members during the Covid 19 pandemic
  • using funds secured from QASA, distributed 28 grocery vouchers valued at R 500 each to QAWC members across the province
  • using repurposed funds from the Australian High Commission, distributed 25 grocery vouchers valued at R500 each
  • distributed 300 QAWC branded material face masks

As the impact of the pandemic will be felt for months to come, QAWC will continue to source resources in order to continue to offer support to our members during these difficult times. Already, resources have been secured which will allow us to assist members in the following way over the next 3 months:

  • funding to distribute another 125 food vouchers to QAWC members
  • basic medical supplies which members are currently experiencing shortages of which will be distributed to members
  • sanitiser and PPE equipment which will be made available to members and distributed to them

Slowly but surely QAWC and QASA programs and projects will start to resume as and when it is deemed safe to do so. While we are very eager to resume offering vital programs, projects and services to our members, the safety and well-being of QAWC members and staff remain our priority.

In ConclusionStay Safe, Stay Healthy

Looking back on the last 12 months, I am of the opinion that QAWC has served its members well, working to improve the lives of our members and assist them to reach their full potential. We were able to provide more opportunities to our members than previously and extended our impact and reach to include wheelchair users throughout the Province. Covid 19 arrived at a time when QAWC was having a positive influence on the lives of more of our members in more communities than ever before. While the fallout from the pandemic will no doubt affect our ability to continue to spread our footprint and increase the programs, projects and services that we offer, we will continue to strive to serve QAWC members to the best of our ability.

While we take the opportunity to look back and reflect on what was a successful 2019/2020 we also take time to acknowledge the hardships faced by people around the world and recognise that maintaining the level of support and assistance that our members have come to expect from us will not be easy. We can and should look back on the last 12 months with a sense of achievement, however we cannot afford to pause or stop for even a moment as in the next few months QAWC members are going to need the support and assistance of our organisation more than ever before. The QAWC team acknowledges the size of the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to finding solutions and to continuing to offer support to QAWC members.

Anthony Ghillino – QAWC General Manager

Anthony Ghillino