Casual Day, South Africa’s foremost fundraising campaign for persons with disabilities, has launched its annual National Schools Programme for 2016 to coincide with International Disability Rights Day on 3 December.
Schools are encouraged to pledge their support for Casual Day and to twin up with mainstream schools in their area to raise donations for their local disability organisations or schools. Casual Day happens on the first Friday in September each year, but it is important for schools to put Casual Day on their annual calender at the end of 2015 or beginning 2016.
“Schools like to plan ahead so we are reminding school governing bodies, teachers and parents to get on board for next year,” says Casual Day project leader Vanessa du Plessis. “Money is raised by the donation of a R10 sticker which we provide to schools and which they sell to families and friends. The funds raised are then distributed to our 12 national beneficiaries, and the local organisation that distributes the stickers.
“Since schools are a significant aspect of government and schools are where values and morals are inculcated, we encourage government bodies to ensure that Casual Day is celebrated in each and every public and private school in South Africa.”
Owned by the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) and sponsored by Edcon, Casual Day remains the most meaningful fundraiser for persons with disabilities and is a lifeline for many organisations serving the community of persons with disabilities in South Africa.
“To date Casual Day has contributed over R222 million to the funding of organisations providing education, assistive devices, shelter and employment to the almost 15% of the population who have disabilities. The amount raised in 2015 will be announced next year in February, but we will add at least R20m to that number,” says Du Plessis.
“We work in conjunction with the network of disability organisations who work together with the ordinary people of South Africa and our sponsors, Edcon, Game, Checkers and Absa, and the hundreds of companies, to bring this money in.
The National Council for Persons with Disabilities in SA runs a range of projects and programmes, including the Children’s Programme, which has wrapped up a major research project to identify the status quo of children with disabilities.
Results show that the majority of children with disabilities are outside the school system. Another programme focuses on the provision of specialised wheelchairs to children as there is a huge need for wheelchairs for children with multi-disabilities, meaning children with more than one disability as would be the case in a child with cerebral palsy.
With the help of Casual Day funding, and in partnership with Engen and Edcon, NCPPDSA recently handed over specialised wheelchairs to 17 children with disabilities who would otherwise have been unable to move around. According to Ms Therina Wentzel, National Director of the NCPPDSA, “Wheelchairs are one of the most commonly used assistive devices and it gives children with disabilities a sense of freedom to engage in activities that abled bodied children participate in on a daily basis.”
Casual Day covers a range of disabilities – beneficiaries include:
National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA
South African National Council for the Blind
QuadPara Association of South Africa
South African Federation for Mental Health
Deaf Federation of South Africa
Autism South Africa
Down Syndrome South Africa
National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy
South African National Deaf Association
National Institute for the Deaf
Alzheimer’s South Africa
South African Disability Alliance