Message from Dr BT Naidoo

My sincere congratulations to the Officials, Members and Staff of the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities, KwaZulu Natal (APDKZN) on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary. I applaud the efforts of its official’s members and staff for providing services to Persons with Disabilities. Responding to the plaintive pleas of a desperate parent a few public spirited individuals helped to found the Natal Indian Cripple Care Association. As a result of their enthusiasm and dedication, the commitment of succeeding generations of volunteers and loyal staff it is achieving it’s avowed aims and objectives.

Even the several name changes that were done for logistical and political reasons did not slow the progress made in providing services to persons with disabilities. Starting off with limited facilities, with a loyal social worker and the only resources being dedication, perseverance and hard work the Organisation gradually succeeded in catering for the immediate needs of persons with disabilities who sought assistance. From these humble beginnings the APDKZN is now in the forefront of service delivery in the Province.

Social work services, work and employment, education, assistive devices, rehabilitation and transport are some of the services provided. Despite the heavy workload, the Organisation has continued to stay focussed on the provision of services and on advocacy to facilitate full inclusion and equity for all PWD. We laud their efforts despite the extreme economic and political challenges faced by all SA citizens and PWD in particular.

The Association in addition to its heavy commitments is growing its local footprint by becoming involved in partnerships that ensure the inclusion of local and rural communities. With Transnet it assists in the training of a large number of young learners, it joins hands with Municipalities in celebratory events. The training of care givers is another of many such involvements at the national level. The Association plays a significant role in discussions and negotiations between Government, Business and Civil Society. Senior members and staff provide valuable inputs and share their expertise. We salute APDKZN for being at the forefront in the Sector. The achievements of APDKZN have been remarkable.

However resources both human and financial are not readily forthcoming from the State. On the other hand we are deeply indebted to our magnanimous community for their unstinting support over the years. We are overwhelmed by their caring and their sharing. Even though the Government has endorsed several significant pieces of legislation and Initiatives the expected assistance and cooperation by the various State institutions is disappointing. It is our earnest appeal to the relevant Departments to assist by enforcing the many rights to which PWD are entitled and in so doing reduce the burdens imposed on the Sector.

The Association has over the past 50 years faced many challenges. Much credit is due to its members for their humanitarian efforts. Unfortunately, a great deal more has to be done. It is my fervent prayer that they be given the necessary strength and resolve to achieve their goals. God bless you.

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