Ensuring inclusivity and welfare for youth with disabilities

The South African Constitution is celebrated as one of the best in the world, set upon the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality and inclusivity as well as the advancement of human rights and freedom for all of its citizens, including persons with disabilities.  

A big challenge that people with disabilities encounter is that the focus is on their disability and not on their abilities and positive contribution to society. This leads to many being excluded from the daily rights that mainstream society takes for granted.  

Brand South Africa recognises the importance of raising awareness of the challenges faced by minorities, especially their contributions to social cohesion and nation building. In commemorating Youth Day, Brand South Africa collaborated with the Sport for Social Change Network (SSCN) and Special Olympics South Africa (SOSA) to highlight the role that youth with intellectual disabilities can play in all sectors of society. Held on 15 June 2021 at the Casa Da Sol School in Johannesburg, the collaboration allowed for interaction with the youth with intellectual disabilities by a host of remarkable sports personalities and ambassadors on various topics including; 

Wanga Manyala –  Athlete Leadership Programme  

Sbusiso Shongwe – Public speaking   

Letshego Zulu – The importance of a healthy lifestyle  

Mark Fish and Diamond Thopola –  Substance abuse and other youth related challenges through soccer skills    

Paul Kamanga – Anti-bullying measures inside and outside of school and self-defense tips. 

The overarching message was to encourage young people to know their constitution and continue to strive for excellence like many who have come before them have. 

The visibly excited young learners were empowered, educated and motivated to play their part and become the best version of themselves and to see beyond their limitations. 

Speaking at the event in Johannesburg, Pumeza Ceza, Relationship Manager – Civil Society at Brand South Africa affirmed the importance of advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream society and leveraging off sport entities to develop young people and those living with disabilities. “We encourage all South Africans to be responsible citizens and to play their part in creating a better and inclusive society “ she said. 

About SSCN: The Sports for Social Change Network (SSCN) is an accelerator for non-governmental organisations and Community Based Organisations that use sports to bring about social change in communities. The SSCN creates strategic collaboration between the private and public sector in order to create opportunities for sports as an agent for change and development for the youth. Visit their website here.

About Special Olympics South Africa (SOSA): Special Olympics South Africa is home to more than 45 000 talented athletes trained in 18 competitive sports. SOSA provides year-round training for men, women and children with intellectual disabilities. Their goal is to transform their lives through the joy of sport, and to transform the lives of their families and communities. Visit their website here.