In recognition of National Disability Rights Awareness Month, a group of local businesses and community members came together to support an initiative that includes a network of plastic bottle top collectors from Ekurhuleni, Pretoria to Limpopo, who through partnering with Interwaste Germiston have seen a total number of 64 wheelchairs collected, 53 donated and more than 260 000 kg of plastic bottle tops recycled since 2013.
Among the beneficiaries are people living with disabilities in Kathorus who were identified by community members and community centres; they received wheelchairs and food parcels Sunday, on 29 November 2020.
As many South Africans are encouraged to volunteer time and services in various centres between the 3rd of November and the 3rd of December, there are young and old residents, churches, knitting clubs, local schools, retirement homes, restaurants and coffee shops who have dedicated their time and resources to recycle plastic bottle tops in aid of improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, while saving the planet.
Lynne Crawcour, from The Herbert Evans Group, who is also part of the network of many great collectors, said, “What we do is the epitome of how one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Giving back to the community does not have to be expensive, but needs to give hope, mobilise society for the good of its people and help others thrive.”
All community members within the collectors’ network collected a total of 960 kg of plastic bottle tops in the last 2.5 months and made the November 2020 drop off possible for all beneficiaries.”
The 4 weeks are an opportune time to highlight certain issues and concerns pertaining to the rights of thousands of people with disabilities in South Africa, and during the launch of Disability Rights Awareness Month campaign, Deputy Minister in The Presidency Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize said,
“The South African Human Rights Commission notes a very critical fact that persons with disabilities currently account for 5.1% of the population aged 5 years and older in South Africa with disabilities, who continue to experience lack of access to adequate health and basic education, and are at risk of economy with no prospect of securing employment. The sector is also particularly vulnerable to the compounded effects of discrimination and abuse.”
For every 450kg of plastic bottle tops collected Interwaste donates a new wheelchair. This initiative is open to all members of the public, so anyone can contribute to ensuring that a neighbour living with a disability has dignity and is empowered.
Building a community inclusive of disability rights, educating people in order for them to understand the need to protect persons with disabilities and ensuring the human rights of all citizens are upheld, protected and promoted is achievable when communities work together.
If you would like to be involved in the network of collectors please contact Lynne on 083 330 7132.