The 31st of March was a colourful, fun and informative day as Progression, in partnership with Cheshire Home, hosted a walk for awareness. The 1 km walk aimed to celebrate and raise awareness of people with disabilities (PWD), with a special emphasis placed on autism in commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day which took place on April 2nd.
Participants then travelled in unison to the Regina Mundi Church. The passion and excitement was evident as song and laughter filled the streets. Once inside the Church, Phil Hall, Acting Manager of LRC, opened proceedings with the following statement, “I have walked the streets of Soweto many times, but today was the first time I walked these streets with a purpose, surrounded by some of the most determined and motivational people I know”. This was followed by the inspiring stories of Michael Sive, Mamosese Mosese and Progression’s very own Nwabisa Nqabeni, all people living life to the full,despite their disabilities.
Representative from the Road Accident Fund, Zanele Mogale, stressed the importance of road safety and informed participants of the services offered to people who have fallen victim to road accidents. Jessie Mashinini, from the City of Johannesburg, shed some light on autism by providing some important information and statistics on the disorder.
The speeches concluded with some fun competitions before making our way into the park for what was to be a “colourful” afternoon. Laughter and fun erupted as participants sprinkled one another with coloured powder. Soon, children on their way home from school joined in the fun and the park became a true symbol of the Rainbow Nation we are proud to live in.
People quickly quietened down as food was served and a successful day drew to a close.
One of the participants, Shadi Mathabe, a 19 -year-old women from Soweto, had this to say about the enjoyable and informative day, “I learnt a lot about autism and people living with disabilities today. It made me realise that even though people may have disabilities, they still have other important skills that should not be forgotten and underestimated. We are all equal.”
Representative from the City of Johannesburg’s Social Development Department, Jessie Mashinini, agreed that the day was a huge success, “In order for South Africa to prosper as a nation, we need to foster an inclusive society. We need to recognise people living with disabilities as active members of our community and get rid of the negative stigma and stereotypes that surround disabilities. Improving education and creating awareness around PWD is paramount and it is through initiatives and events such as today that we will achieve this.”
For more information on autism and services for persons with autism, please contact:
Tel: 031 2074858
Association for Autism (Pretoria)
Tel: 012 993 4628
Tel: 011 484 7254