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Is your business wheelchair friendly?
Former South African squash player Greg la Mude looks on as his wife, Bianka, experiences life in a wheelchair at SUPERSPAR Sunridge during the launch of the Wheelchair Wednesday campaign. Photo:FULL STOP COMMUNICATIONS

THE ninth Wheelchair Wednesday campaign was launched by SPAR Eastern Cape and the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD) with a special tribute to late president Nelson Mandela.

On Mandela Day, local personalities from all walks of life were tasked to spend 67 minutes in a wheelchair to promote the initiative. They were asked to perform various tasks in a prelude to September’s campaign proper.

Every Wednesday in September, volunteers from businesses, the municipality and schools will be confined to wheelchairs for four hours to experience the issues those with mobility difficulties confront each day.

The project raises awareness among businesses as to the need for wheelchair-friendly facilities.

SPAR EC sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said the participants’ willingness to experience life in a wheelchair on Saturday would make a difference to others.

“Mandela Day is about celebrating how you as an individual can transform someone else’s life and how you can make a difference to society.”

He said although they were only in the chair for 67 minutes instead of the normal four hours, their view of life would have changed after realising how difficult life in a wheelchair could be.”

APD executive director Cecilia Fourie said they wanted to play their part in changing society.

“Nelson Mandela said action without vision is only passing time while vision without action is merely daydreaming – but vision with action can change the world.”

She said there were at least 100 000 people in Nelson Mandela Bay living with disabilities and their target was to hand over a further 200 wheelchairs.

“That means we will have donated 1 200 wheelchairs in the space of nine years, which is a huge achievement when you consider that the waiting period to get a government wheelchair is longer than two years.”

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