WAND Women Giving Back
Women with disabilities who have meaningful careers or those who have managed community projects have often attended a Mentorship Programme with the aim of achieving certain goals. These women, who have participated in a mentorship programme, have a good understanding of the benefits of such a programme. Women could also have had informal mentors who listened to them and guided them to achieve a certain goal.
As part of women with disabilities giving back approach, a Mentorship Programme will be implemented. The recipients of the programme will be women and girls with disabilities. Most disabled women have experienced barriers, prejudice, and disappointment and have learnt how to overcome these challenges in different situations. Every person in general experience challenges, and for disabled persons having a disability adds another dimension to their challenges. It is important for women and all persons with disabilities to not adopt a victim attitude, but to find ways and strength to overcome challenges and disappointments.
- To encourage disabled women and girls to find alternative ways of doing things and to never give up.
- To assist disabled women and girls through an important transition such as having to cope with a new situation like attending college or university, getting a job or pursuing personal growth.
- To encourage women with disabilities who feel disempowered to set goals and dream about achieving success/live life to the fullest
- To transfer leadership and workplace skills
- To encourage personal development
- To encourage girls to pursue skills training and education
In earlier years when many persons with disabilities grew up, it was a challenge to get accepted into tertiary institutions – even if they had good grades and qualified to attend colleges and universities. The main barriers were that the building and facilities were not accessible, awareness and focus on disabled persons were much less than what it is today and there were fewer bursaries available and internships were non-existent.
Educational institutions have made strides to include persons with disabilities in their education policies. Most educational institutions have Disability Units that champion the inclusion and reasonable accommodation of students with disabilities.
Disability Units of Universities Contact List
Fax: +27 21 959 6231
Fax No : +27 086 568 1754
Bursaries for 2015
Here are links to bursaries:
All Faculties bursaries
Department of Social Development
According to the United Nations girls with disabilities are the most disadvantaged from all the vulnerable groups. Many young disabled girls will grow up in a community or society where their human rights will be denied. In certain cultures and communities these girls will be raised to believe that they are not able to participate in society and live full meaningful lives.
Girls who come from poor households and those who experience abuse and violence become more disempowered because of their socio-economic circumstances. They are often misused and made to feel that they are a burden for their family. It is also easier to make disabled girls feel that because of their disability they are not beautiful and worthy of a complete and good life. They are made to believe that they cannot have a boyfriend, may not marry one day and that having children one day is completely taboo.
Astra School for Learners with Special Educational Needs, Cape Town
Nine girls from Astra School between the ages of fourteen and eighteen attended the first session of an empowerment programme for girls with disabilities.
These girls have physical and learning disabilities, whilst some have both these disabilities. It is important that these girls understand their human rights so that they can confidently start building their future.
They need to be exposed to other disabled female role models, so that they can become aware that they too can become successful. It does not matter what they decide to pursue in life, whether it is to study, whether it is to work from home or whether they work in their community - as long as they realize that they have rights and that they can have aspirations to lead full and happy lives.
This is where the school play an important role as they can enable the girls to attend empowerment programmes. The girls participated to the best of their ability and it was an eye-opener for them to see that other disabled women achieved their goals and dreams, despite having to face barriers and struggles. Exposing them to successful disabled female role models, boosts their confidence and makes them realize that they too can dream of a good future.
Sandy, one of the girls that attended the programme, commented that “I learnt that I also have rights, and that I should not allow people to stop me from doing things which will better my life – I must push forward and never give up”.