QuadPara Association of KZN

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Directors Report 2011

I am privileged to be able to showcase the following KZN projects.

Without the generous support of our donors, however, we would have floundered and closed before we started seventeen years ago. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to so many donor partners and supporters who continue to care enough to keep our services going to an expanding number of persons with severe mobility impairments. Without them we cannot go on or develop as needed and planned.

PROJECTS

ASHLEY VILLAGE

Ashley Village remains a major success for the Association. In the eighteen years since opening its doors, it has grown into a home and a personal development ground for the thirty-seven quadriplegics and paraplegics it has served over the years. Of these, seventeen have moved on to live within the community, six are deceased, and fourteen are currently accommodated.  Ten of the residents are employed full-time (five on site), and four are retired, training, or looking for work.

Ashley Village employs a total of nine permanent caregivers, between ten and twelve trainee caregivers, three drivers, and two grounds men.

The booking centre for the Ethekwini Dial-a-Ride transport system is contracted to Ashley Village. Four quadriplegics (three from outside) are employed in the centre.

CAPACITY BUILDING

The capacity building courses started in 2009, and these are proving to be highly successful, motivating, and life changing for those attending.
    
We are proud to have initiated this project, and we feel well satisfied that the project is extending a positive footprint to all corners of KZN.

Thanks goes to the Ashley Village residents for their input to the program.

CAREGIVER TRAINING

This has been a highly successful project, with almost 80% of graduates moving on to be successfully employed. Thanks must go to the donors who recognised the value of partnering the project.

Funding has been received to keep this project going, and we will eventually expand to supply trained helpers to those who need them within the communities.


TRANSPORT

We now have four vehicles that are extensively used to transport quadriplegics and other mobility impaired persons to and from work, training modules, learnerships, and some excursions (2 of the vehicles have done in excess of 400 000 kms., and are between eight and nine years old). Although a minimal transport fee is charged, the Association heavily subsidises the total cost of three full-time drivers, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and vehicle tracking. The demand for accessible transport has been partially satisfied with the introduction of a Dial-a-Ride service for the Ethekwini Metro area.

We are part of the Dial-a-Ride steering committee that meets with Ethekwini Transport Authority on a regular basis.


ROAD SAFETY

Quadriplegics in KZN continue to participate in this worthwhile awareness campaign. You will see our quadriplegic members encouraging motorists to sign a pledge to drive safely, at strategic stops on the mainline at the beginning and end of most school holidays.


VISITATION, COUNSELLING, AND OUTREACH

We are often called on by hospitals to visit newly injured spinal cord patients and their families for specialised advice, counselling, and general assistance. Peer counselling is planned to form a more formal discipline with training, structures, and parameters clearly outlined to provide a uniform counselling programme that can be monitored to maximize patient benefit.

Our specialised equipment stocks are slowly increasing, which allows us to assist those who need special devices or treatment, but don’t have the finances to pay for them.  

QAK facilitated the identification of beneficiaries, and the delivery of eighty basic rural wheelchairs from Rotary, fifty two wheelchairs and cushions from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, three motorised wheelchairs and twenty adjustable child wheelchairs donated to QAK, a further eighteen rural wheelchairs, seven Roho cushions, and fifty child mattresses all funded by National Lotteries.

Some members were helped with free transport, and three members were assisted with their education.

A number of visitors – both individual and groups – were hosted at Ashley Village to keep and forge friendships.

PROVINCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Our Provincial Development Officer, Sipho, has continued with the job of support group development, and is now moving ahead in partnership with the capacity building “graduates”. This has a two-fold benefit in that beneficiaries are supported by their local peers, and good potential capacity building students are easily identified.

We have reached out and visited Harding, Pietermaritzburg, and Richmond, where we have identified a great deal of enthusiasm for resource and skills development, sports training, and self-help centre development. The task is massive.


INCOME GENERATION

MiniTown has been upgraded after almost six months closure in 2010, and has picked up very nicely since reopening in June 2010. QAK receives around R24 000 annually from MiniTown.

The Call Centre has been restructured to include transport bookings for the Ethekweni Dial-A-Ride system, and this brings in a net income of around R360 000 per annum.

Some of our buildings at Ashley Village are rented out at around R48 000 per annum.

The capacity building project also generates approximately R300 000 a year for Ashley Village.

Funding, however, continues to be a constant source of anxious and uncomfortable times, and a number of income generating options are being investigated.

DRIVER TRAINING

We have a vehicle fitted with hand controls for low-cost driver training to mobility-impaired persons who require the use of hand controls. Many thanks to Alexander Forbes Foundation for financing the project, and to QASA for initiating it.

HIV-AIDS, Reproductive Health, & Disability

We are extremely concerned about a number of misconceptions that exist in a modern South Africa today.

QAK has partnered a research program at Durban-Westville University, and a high level workshop was hosted at Ashley Village to establish HIV research needs amongst persons with disabilities in KZN.

Our Provincial Development Officer was subsequently part of the interview team, and a final report is awaited from the Researcher.

REGIONAL OFFICE

The regional office oversees and manages all the projects of the Association, the finances, pays all mortgage loans and insurance costs, and handles all the administrative “donkey work” that is necessary for good governance, planning, and careful day-to-day management. This remains an essential cog in the wheels of our overall service provision, regional administration and management, and is slowly being developed into a Directorate that has three departments, with each focusing on a specialized area of expertise.

TRANSFORMATION

Although transformation has been on our agenda for some time now, this past four years has demonstrated a positive step towards demographic reflection and membership growth. 83.7% of the 713 disabled members are classified as black as defined by the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Act.

With increased capacity building, we feel confident that we can continue to develop a more equitable demographic balance within our management structures.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I feel satisfied that our service provision has started expanding and developing its focus well beyond the boundaries of serviced accommodation. We are well aware of the increased responsibility we have to deliver meaningful services to a far greater pool of persons with physical disabilities in KZN.

The challenges ahead will continue to test our collective resolve. This is a time to focus on ways to grow our resources that will ensure a continued, positive development in the years ahead.

I look forward to the challenges we have taken on in the coming year.

Cedric Hedgcock
Regional Director

Building Partnerships for a Better Service Delivery