Progression calendar stars provide extra shine for Casual Day beneficiaries

15 January 2012 – Progression has donated more than R40 000 to the beneficiaries of Casual Day 2011, with sales from its second annual stylish corporate desk calendar. As an equity-owned company, aimed at successfully integrating more people with disabilities into the workplace, Progression got behind this well-supported and much-loved fundraising initiative for another successful year.

“Our focus for the 2012 calendar was to build on the accomplishments of last year and really drive home the positive and inspiring messages of persons with disabilities in the workplace,” says Progression CEO, Beth Cook. “Not only does the new calendar highlight the contributions of these employees in the workplace, but it also profiles the clients that have recognised and celebrated the value of diversity in the corporate environment.”

The desk calendar features striking sepia photography of real people in the South African workplace, each overcoming the challenges of various disabilities as diverse as bipolar disorder, depression, musculoskeletal disorder, paraplegia and albinism. With an estimated 15% of the world’s population made up of persons with disabilities,” Cook says, “it’s a great way to put a face to a particular disability.”

“We believe it is the human element behind each disability that has resonated with people,” she adds. “As such, the calendar is a successful means to raise money and awareness, as well as being something tangible and functional in the home or workplace.”

Progression offers learnerships and skills programmes to give people with disabilities the opportunity to be successfully integrated into the workplace. Furthermore, it also works closely with corporate clients to plan, implement and shape disability equity management strategies, as well as recruitment services.

“Our clients have actively participated by sponsoring pages on the Progression 2012 Calendar and include Aegis, Bain and Company, Chartis Insurance, Eversheds, Jet Demolition, Staffing Logistics, Vital Distribution Solutions and Weber Wentzel,” says Cook.

Casual Day is a highly successful initiative of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) and beneficiaries include Epilepsy SA, DeafSA, SA Council for the Blind, SA Federation for Mental Health, Disabled People SA as well as the NCPPDSA.

Annelise de Jager, National Project Organiser of Casual Day since its inception 17 years ago, is upbeat about this. “Each year we call upon people to dress differently on the first Friday of September, wearing the sticker to indicate their support,” she says. “We are continually gratified at the participation of South Africans in this project. Casual Day raises more than just money – it raises awareness and helps get us closer to the fully inclusive society we hope to achieve. Progression’s increased contribution goes much further than the financial contribution it makes,” adds de Jager. “It serves to change perceptions of issues around disability and we are grateful for their growing involvement.”

Cook is delighted at the immense growth of sponsorships and sales of the Progression calendar over the past year, from R19 604 for the first calendar to R43 100 for the second. “We simply cannot think of a more worthy recipient for the funds than Casual Day,” she says. “Progression is proud to be able to support a campaign that raises awareness about persons with disabilities, opportunities for corporate comradeship, community support and welfare organisation participation,” she concluded.

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