By Melodie Veldhuizen
Persons with disabilities are not inferior or to be pitied. They are people like you and I and want to be treated with respect and accepted as part of society. The only thing making them different is that they may need resources or special care to make their lives easier. However, this is expensive and not everyone can afford it, which is why fund-raising campaigns, like Casual Day, are held to meet these financial needs.
Casual Day is South Africa’s leading fund-raising and creating awareness project to benefit persons with disabilities and since 1995 is held annually on the first Friday of September. It is the star project of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD). Members of the public are encouraged to buy a sticker to the amount of R10-00 and on that day wear clothes different to what they normally wear to work and school and also wear the official sticker to show that they support the project. This year Casual Day was on 7 September, with the theme Be an everyday hero with persons with disabilities.
South Africa needs heroes – ordinary people who do exceptional things. That is why an appeal is made to everyone to be a champion for change, as well as for yourself, for others and also for our country. The over-arching purpose is to create a society where no-one is excluded and where everyone’s rights are equally important.
What are the features of heroes?
- They care about others.
- They can place themselves in others’ shoes.
- They use their skills and talents to be good to others instead of waiting for someone else to perform a good deed.
- They never lose hope – they persevere regardless of setbacks or disappointments.
- They strive, in spite of short-comings, to be the best persons they can be.
- They never stop trying to make the world a better place for everyone.
- They are noted for their strong character.
The organisations who benefit from the Casual Day project are:
• South African National Council for the Blind
• South African Federation for Mental Health
• South African Federation for the Deaf
• Autism South Africa
• Down Syndrome South Africa
• National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy
• South African National Council for the Deaf
• National Institute for the Deaf
• Alzheimers South Africa
• QuadPara Society of South Africa
• South African Disability Alliance
• National Council of and for People with Disabilities
Why should I participate?
To be one of the thousands of South Africans who prove that small deeds can make a big difference.
Where could stickers be bought this year?
From schools and businesses, among others Edgars, Edgars Active, Jet, Boardmans, CNA, and JetMart, Game and Dion Wired, Toys R Us and Babies R Us Stores, AlphaPharm, Express shops.
National and local participating and benefiting non-government organisations.
The Casual Day national office, Edenvale, Gauteng.
Look beyond the disability and notice what the person can do instead of what he/she cannot do. It is essential that people be made aware that disabled people need to be treated the same as everyone else.
Next year, also be a hero and buy a Casual Day sticker, tell as many people as possible about it and encourage them to participate. This year even shirts, caps and hats were available.
Casual Day. http://www.casualday.co.za/