My name is Vanessa Baadjies. I am chairperson of the organisation called Mandla Sport for Change in the Uitsig-Ravensmead area. We are basically a group of differently-abled people. We believe that disability does not mean inability. We started our organisation about 10 years ago after realising how disabled people were being treated where we stay in the community at large. We are proud to say that we have brought back the dignity we deserve as people. Our life is meaningful and full of activity like that of normal or abled people.
As it is known, our country is plunged into a high rate of unemployment. Our youth and we, the disabled people, are the hardest hit! We are very grateful to Lillian Masebenza of Mhani Gingi who took us under her wings and who continues to market our products or artifacts locally – crafts and clothing. Our activities range from gardening, taking part in sport activities, studying and designing and constructing different types of artifacts. Some of the artifacts are made from recycled material.
In 2014 we were fortunate to be chosen by Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) to study for National Certificate: Building Construction and Civil Construction Painting Level 3. In 2016 we had the opportunity of studying ABET Level 1 – 4 English literacy and in 2017 we completed National Construction Level 2.