In this section we will share some challenges and obstacles that women with disabilities experience in the workplace. Persons with disabilities and especially women with disabilities often experience discrimination and prejudice in the workplace. Sometimes disabled persons are judged by their physicality, the way they look. This can be very deceiving as one cannot tell what a person with a disability is capable of by judging their appearance. The same rule applies for persons without a disability. The best way to check whether a person with a disability is capable of something, is to ask the person in a non-judgemental manner. It is always safe to ask an open ended question, which allows the disabled person to provide an answer.
Should disabled persons and women be employed in meaningful positions, they are good performers and loyal employees.
Charmaine’s prejudice experience
Below is an example of a woman with a disability who experienced prejudice by one of her clients.
Orion Organisation, Atlantis
Laticia Duiker – Junior Supervisor
Laticia is a woman that lives with epilepsy and because epilepsy is classified as a disability, she qualifies for a disability grant. She started to work in the Hanger-Cleaning Section of the Workshop for Adults with disabilities at Orion Organisation in Atlantis.
She showed leadership potential since she started in in September 1986. Laticia advanced from a Cleaner to a Packer. Because of continued development of her leadership qualities and personal growth, she was promoted to Junior Supervisor in February 2013.
Laticia is a dedicated and hard worker who unselfishly cares for others. For this she is respected by her colleagues with disabilities, clients and staff of Orion. She sets an example to everybody by walking the talk.
About the Orion Workshop for Adults
The aim of the Workshop for Adults is to maximise the capacity of disabled people for independent living and to avoid the cycle of poverty, hence the focus on skills training and job creation.
Orion’s Work Centres and work methods are well adapted to the disabled worker. It has the capacity for 150 disabled adults, and is staffed by 11 hands-on Supervisors reporting to a Production Manager. We have in the past secured a number of significant contracts such as recycling 20 000 plastic hangers per day for Hangerman/Woolworths and weighing of products for Bokomo Foods. We are also proud of our partnership with TRW Automotive Occupant Restraints, assembling various components (i.e. seat belts and air bags) forming part of their production line. Other contracts include Mondi Plastic Containers, Ysterplaat Medical Supplies, GUD Filters, etc
Individuals are taught about hygiene, workflow, time management, machine operation and safety across a variety of machines. Many of the high-functioning disabled learn a variety of skills including specialised packaging, basic numeracy and literacy, machine operating techniques, as well as exercising their fine motor control skills.
In this section you will find a list of Organisations and Recruitment Agencies that specializes in the employment and recruitment of persons with disabilities.
The Department of Public Service and Administration publishes a circular with vacancies in government on a weekly basis. Go to http://www.gov.za/aboutgovt/vacancies.htm
- Register on the Department of Labour’s website as a job seeker: https://essa.labour.gov.za/EssaOnline/WebBeans/
The SA Employers for Disability (SAE4D) brings together a number of corporates. You can upload your CV on their database. Go to http://www.sae4d.co.za/cv.php
The Eastern Cape Disability Economic Empowerment Trust (ECDEET) has been contracted by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government to coordinate provincial employment support services for persons with disabilities.
Recruitment Agencies Contact List
Association of the Physically Disabled: Limpopo
Association for the Physically Disabled Nelson Mandela Bay
Women and girls with disabilities often need to attend events, and need to look extra beautiful. They then use the skills and services of hairdressers and make-up artists. Whether a woman has a disability or not, these beauty professionals just do it so much better and make women look beautiful and attractive.
Here is information of professional beauticians and photographers in Cape Town that can make you look beautiful for that special occasion. They support and embrace the beauty of women with disabilities and do magic with make-overs.
Merlize du Toit
Professional make-up artist and hairstylist
Mobile No: 0825551166
Professional Photographer: (events, make-overs, special occasions, weddings)
South African Revenue Service (SARS)
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) makes provision for taxpayers with disabilities or those who have family members with disabilities to claim for expenses that are directly related to their disability.
SARS mentions that …..”A taxpayer who has or whose spouse or child has a disability in line with the criteria set out in the ITR-DD form and confirmed by the medical practitioner, can claim all qualifying out-of-pocket expenses, which include disability related expenses, in full. SARS has set a list of physical impairment or disability expenses…”
Bendels Consulting™ is a niche tax consulting practice, which specialises in the provision of tax compliance and tax law advisory services to individuals where there is a “disability” in the family. The key focus of Bendels Consulting™ relates to the complex tax treatment (and associated tax breaks) in respect of medical expenses, especially those pertaining to “disabilities”. In particular, we aim to ensure that qualifying taxpayers obtain all their applicable tax breaks in respect of current, future and prior-tax years.
Bendels Consulting™ has presented at Parliament, made representations to SARS and spoken at the National Treasury in Pretoria on tax policy relating to “disability” groups of taxpayers. Bendels Consulting™ has written and spoken extensively and made several contributions in this specialist area, including the lead front page article in the Business Day on 02 February 2007, an article in the Business Report on 28 January 2010 and one in Personal Finance on 10 June 2012.
Based on official SARS statistics, Bendels Consulting™ secures tax deductions that are, on average, three times the national average.
To find out more about what Bendels Consulting™ does, click here.
To find out how Bendels Consulting™ differs from other tax practitioners; click here.
Jaco Kruger Disability Tax Consultant
Jaco Kruger, an expert on the tax law about people with disabilities, says the following:
“The tax law have had some major changes since 2012 in terms of allowable deductions for medical and disability expenses. Despite these concessions by SARS, taxpayers have not used these benefits. To ensure these benefits are used to its full potential, taxpayers must seek disability tax advisory services”.
Some of the important things to notice from SARS in this regard are:
- Correction or amendment of prior year tax returns of up to three years.
- There are nine broad qualifying categories of allowable expenses for each type of disability – within each of these categories; there are a wide range of qualifying examples.
- Registered learnership agreements between employer and the employee (Disabled person), allow for a commencement allowance of R50K and a completion allowance of R50K (In total, a R100K tax relief per annum). This could be specifically beneficial for the small to medium businesses
- Improvements on the eFiling system in conjunction with recognised tax practitioners, have smoothed the process of submissions and quicker results
“Personal interaction with SARS on a professional basis contributes to a successful submission and effective results. As a parent of a disabled person, I have a very good understanding of the major need for these special people. The ultimate objective is to create awareness amongst parents and or taxpayers. This will improve the lifestyle of the disabled person in today’s society.”
You can also visit his website at www.jacokrugerafs.co.za
FORGOTTEN SISTERS – A REPORT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES: AN OVERVIEW OF ITS NATURE, SCOPE, CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES
The forms of violence to which women and girls with disabilities are subjected are varied. They include physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence, neglect, social isolation, entrapment, degradation, detention, denial of health care and forced sterilization and psychiatric treatment, among others.
Women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence and other forms of gender-based and sexual violence as non-disabled women, and are likely to experience abuse over a longer period of time and to suffer more severe injuries as a result of the violence. Their abuser may also be their caregiver, someone that the individual is reliant on for personal care or mobility, frequently they do not report the violence, institutions of the justice system are often physically inaccessible and do not provide reasonable accommodation, they often lack access to legal protection and representation, law enforcement officials and the legal community are ill-equipped to address the violence, their testimony is often not viewed as credible by the justice system and they are not privy to the same information available to non-disabled women.
It is important to look after one’s health, so that one can remain healthy and active and form part of a healthy society.
Following a healthy lifestyle can greatly benefit women and all persons with disabilities as this will cause us to feel even better about ourselves. It will contribute towards living a more full and active life.
It is important to note that having a disability is not a reason to neglect one’s health in general.
Striving to follow healthy living in a holistic manner means that it addresses the needs of the whole person, and not just as a person with a disability.
Many women and all persons with disabilities prefer to attend a gym to work out and get fit and healthy. Fortunately some of the gyms are accessible (parking, lift to get to different floor levels, swimming pool hoist) which enables the disabled to access their service.
Here is some info of gyms that are accessible:
Virgin Active encourages everyone to make use of their fitness and health services – this is what they state on their website “Everyone’s welcome at Virgin Active. Young or old. Fit or unfit. It’s all good.”
Most Virgin Active gyms are accessible as mentioned above. Some of the Virgin Active gyms offers services such as a biokineticist, dietitian and physio.
A biokineticist is a health professional who can help you prevent and treat orthopaedic conditions and chronic diseases. They also do exercise testing for athletes and develop programmes for weight loss general fitness muscle strengthening toning and definition. (obtained from Virgin Active website)
Dietitians are all about giving you the tools, guidelines and knowledge to make better food choices. They find out what your eating habits are and what you want to change, then work out the best possible eating plan for you. (obtained from Virgin Active website)
If you’ve suffered an injury, been in an accident or just come out of surgery, a physiotherapist will help you get back up and moving again. They also support patients with permanent disabilities to prevent further damage and increase functionality. (obtained from Virgin Active website)
The Cape Town City Council introduced property rates rebates for persons with disabilities with a household income of R12 000 per month or less. Disabled persons with household incomes below R4000, will qualify for a 100% rebate.
The qualifying criteria are:
- Applicants must be a person with a disability
- Household income must not exceed R12 000 per month
- The applicant must be a fulltime occupant of the house
- Applicant must complete an application form, supply a copy of her/his ID document and a proof of income
Contact the Call Centre on 0860 10 30 89
- Visit the Walk in Centre in Goodwood Municipal Offices in Voortrekker Road, Goodwood
Vincent Palotti Hospital, Pinelands, Cape Town
The Rehabilitation Unit within the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town, offers a heated in-house swimming pool where clients can receive hydrotherapy. The water is approximately 34 °C.
Exercise is done in the pool to assist with more effective movement and some relief of pain symptoms.
To make an appointment, contact Mrs A. Africa on 021 531 7232.
Medi-Clinic, Cape Town
The aquatic Rehabilitation Centre at Medi-Clinic Cape Town offers a heated, eco-friendly indoor pool and a gym area. Classes are for more mature ladies. Focus is on light cardiovascular fitness, maintaining mobility in all joints as well as maintaining and building strength of postural and mobilising muscles. Classes are suitable for ladies who have undergone hip, knee and shoulder replacements or suffer from various forms of arthritis. Classes are also suitable for ladies without the above who are serious about their general health and fitness maintenance and need a safe yet effective form of exercise.
Tel: 021 424 5268
Operating hours: 7:45 – 17:30 Monday – Friday
Should you require assistance and support to report any cases of violence and abuse, contact any of the following Organisations for the Disabled:
The aim of Cancer Buddies is to provide support to newly diagnosed cancer patients when treatment starts, to assist with the initial adjustment to the process. This service ensures that cancer patients and their caregivers have access to support services.
Cancer Buddies has established branches in the Western Cape, Pretoria Johannesburg and George. All their volunteers and caregivers are cancer survivors and have been through the cancer journey themselves.
Below is the story of Mrs M, a woman with a disability who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She describes how myths and misconceptions of her disability, down played the cancer and the impact it had on her life and her quest to survive. Losing a breast was not considered to be an issue by others, because after all she is a disabled woman – meaning she is considered not to be a complete woman.
Mrs M had to be “double” strong as she had to fight 2 battles simultaneously, namely having to deal with misconceptions and negative attitudes of her disability and womanhood, whilst at the same time having to fight the breast cancer.
She is not just a cancer survivor, but a remarkable tenacious woman (with a disability) who did not allow barriers and negative attitudes to ruin her life, however difficult it was at times.
We trust that her breast cancer story will raise awareness amongst health care professionals, women and all other persons. As women with disABILITIES, we celebrate our womanhood, our sexuality and sensuality. Breast cancer affects us as it does all other non-disabled women.
Me and the big “C” word……
Mrs M’s story
To be diagnosed with cancer was certainly no “walk in the park”, but I kept on motivating myself with the following:
- I am not the first or the only person who was ever diagnosed with cancer
- I knew of many women who travelled the cancer road WITH a smile
- And….. I overcame my acquired disability and “walked” out as a much stronger woman with a clear focus for the rest of my life.
Yes, the diagnosis, the abrupt operation (with absolute no comprehension of what to come), the treatments, the loss of energy and the grief was a huge challenge.
But my BIGGEST challenge was none of the above. It was people’ perceptions, words and actions regarding my disability that proofed to be the most devastating in the first 18 months after diagnosis….
At first NOT ONE PERSON (except the surgeon) discussed the cancer or the influence thereof on my life! Nobody mentioned my grief. It was as if the cancer did not exist. Everybody was emotional about the fact that I acquired a disability “and now this!....” Everybody had a perspective on why a person with a disability may not have cancer. It was often mentioned and in the process it felt as if my cancer became a secondary issue to my disability. I was grieving because of the cancer and absolutely fine with my disability!
On the other side of the coin: Some people could not understand that I grieved for the loss of a breast. Their perception was one of “but you overcame your disability, this must be a breeze….” I was often asked how I can “complain” about the loss of a body part (that have a HUGE impact on your sense of being a women and your sensuality) if I can’t walk.
My experience regarding this was that my disability was constantly used as a measurement of my allowable grief!
Another impact on my life and especially my emotional wellbeing at the time was that other women (able) could not understand that I saw my breasts as an expression of my womanhood and my sensuality. I was asked why I want breasts “if you can’t have sex”. Even if I disclosed that I am a married woman, the perception that women with disabilities are asexual weighed more.
This misconception really added to my grief, as I suddenly found myself in an environment where I was perceived as completely asexual, with absolute no right on womanhood. If you add to this a shattered self-esteem, feelings of inability, loss of a body part, severe nausea and exhaustion, insecurities regarding your sexuality and your ability to fight the cancer, it becomes a devastating and VERY disabling situation.
Another challenge was that I need BOTH arms to propel my wheelchair, and with the mastectomy it was impossible to use my right arm for 6 weeks. This left me dependent on other for everything. So in my case the cancer also caused a complete loss of independence. I think the hardest part was the fact that I needed assistance with everything, including bathing. When it was bathing time, I did not have the time to grief on my own, and worse, whoever assisted me saw my scars and my loss of a breast. This left me so vulnerable….. I was not ready to look at myself in a mirror, and I was in a situation where I HAD to allow someone else to see…..
Another challenge that I still experience: Only a very few medical centers has the medical equipment and technology to perform the necessary tests (Mammograms) on a woman with a mobility impairment and who cannot stand. (99% of the machines cannot move up and down, and if you cannot stand to enable the medical personnel to perform the mammogram, they simply pull and stretch you till your breasts can reach the machine….. I still belief that if the testing facilities for my mammogram that I had 4 months before my diagnosis were accessible, I would have been diagnosed earlier. How can a correct diagnosis being made if your breasts can’t reach the machines?
MULTIDISCIPLINARY BREAST HEALTH CENTRE
Based in Panorama Cape Town, the centre is off-road with disabled parking available directly in front of the door. If you require parking at the front door, please request this when making the appointment. We will then reserve the parking space for you at the time of your appointment, and/or do the necessary to accommodate your needs.
The lack of steps provides easy access to the reception area where there is more than adequate space for anyone with limited movement or utilising a wheelchair. A ramp is available for wheelchair use in the imaging department.
Creating Awareness Among Disabled Women to Reduce Cancer Risk
Many women with disabilities are diagnosed with cancer. There is a big risk of late diagnosis of Breast Cancer among disabled women, as this group of women is not always targeted during information sharing campaigns, as the focus remains on their particular disability.
BARRIERS TO SCREENING
Susan G Komen for the Cure provides the following information on women with disabilities and breast cancer:
Research has shown there are some reasons why women with disabilities may not receive breast cancer screening:
1. It is hard to get to the right place where the screening is offered:
- Women may have a hard time making and keeping medical appointments. For example, a woman who is deaf may not be able to easily contact a clinic that does not have a telephone system for the deaf.
- Facilities for breast cancer screening are not always easy to get to for some women, such as those who use a wheelchair. For example, there may not be a ramp or dressing room that is large enough to fit her wheelchair.
- The mammography equipment may not be easy to get to for women who have trouble walking or standing still in one position. For example, mobile mammography vans are not always wheelchair accessible. Mammography equipment may not adjust enough to allow some women to easily position themselves or sit while being screened.
2. Some disabled women believe that they are less likely to get breast cancer than other women, since they are already coping with one disability. They may believe that “lightning doesn’t strike twice.”
3. Health care workers may not know how to make sure that disabled patients get the breast cancer screening they need. They may focus on the disability and not screening for breast cancer.
SUCCESSFUL SCREENING FOR WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES
Susan G Komen for the Cure provides further information on how to ensure that you may have a successful breast screening:
- Find a doctor who is sensitive to your needs. Ask friends who they recommend.
- When scheduling a mammogram, tell the clinic about your disability. Let them know how they can help you get screened. It’s important to talk about this up front, since some clinics may not be right for you. For example, if you find it hard to stand during a mammogram, ask if you can sit instead.
- Ask your doctor to perform a clinical breast exam.
- If you are able, get to know the way your breasts look and feel. This will help you to know when something has changed.
- If you are not pleased with the services you receive, speak up. Too often, clinics don’t know how they need to improve their services to meet their patients’ needs.
- Bring a friend or someone you trust with you. They can assist you and support you, when needed.
More information provided by CANSA on what cancer is, what causes cancer and preventative measures that can be taken.
Practicing financial fitness in general is a challenge for all people, irrespective whether they have a disability or not. Often persons with disabilities find it challenging to focus on financial fitness for various reasons.
Most of the time we need to work our way through countless barriers which can cause financial fitness to easily move to last place on our priority list. Another challenge is also that the most persons with disabilities are unemployed and are often dependent on a monthly disability grant.
With the toll of daily living it is becoming increasingly important to look after one’s health and to strive for healthy living. Persons with disabilities should continue to strive to live healthy as this will contribute to increased quality of life.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Article 25 – mentions that …”States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation…”
The 2013 World Report on Disability published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank states that ….”Increasing evidence suggests that people with disabilities experience poorer levels of health than the general population. ..”