Organisation helps disabled find work

Some of the beneficiaries who have gained independence through employment support services and business partnerships.

With hundreds of candidates involved in their projects at any given time, the Disability Workshop Development Enterprise (DWDE) is helping to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

DWDE has been offering disability employment support, to help integrate people with disabilities into the general workforce for the past 10 years.

They work with businesses and assess their needs to help find suitable candidates. The candidates are in turn offered training and education opportunities.

DWDE also encourages entrepreneurship with projects aimed at teaching candidates the skills required to start their own businesses.

DWDE is constantly seeking partnerships and sponsorships with businesses to continue offering people living with disabilities countless opportunities in the working environment.

This year has been a particularly busy year for the organisation that have already completed three training programmes for 80 candidates in partnership with the City of Cape Town.

Sixteen people with disabilities from Philippi, Manenberg, Blue Downs, Hout Bay, Tokai, Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Uitsig, Kraaifontein and Wesbank were equipped with the skills to start their own sewing business in January.

April saw another 16 candidates from Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Western District, Southern District, Northern District, Tygerberg, Eastern District and Klipfontein District receive training to start their own craft and beading businesses.

From January to March this year, 48 candidates from across the peninsula were given the chance to experience on the job mentorship while learning administrative skills for a number of different institutions.

Apart from these projects, DWDE also employs people with disabilities to work at the Cape Town International Airport (ACSA) while 100 people will be employed through the Independent Development Trust’s Expanded Public Works Programme over the next two years.

Jade Arendse, from Brackenfell and her partner Imraan Barodien from Mitchell’s Plain are both hearing impaired. The two recently welcomed their hearing baby into the world.

Ms Arendse heard about DWDE on the radio and now also works at their Claremont office where she says she’s been able to gain experience as a member of the workforce and learn new skills.

“It’s not always easy for people with disabilities to find work, but DWDE helps and makes things easier for them.”

Ms Arendse struggled to find work because of her hearing impairment.

Despite being competent in many other areas, businesses said they did not want to accommodate someone who couldn’t speak on the phone. Now, she works as a job coach and has helped others with disabilities find work across the country.

After her own success, Ms Arendse recommended the organisation to Mr Barodien, who’s now found work at a local import business in Montague Gardens.

He explains that DWDE makes it easier for companies to recruit people with disabilities and encourages them to broaden their horizons and consider disabled applicants.“DWDE gives disabled people the chance to lead their lives as normally as possible.”

In addition to their training and employment projects, DWDE also hosts weekly open days where people with disabilities can find help looking for employment.

The open days are held at DWDE’s offices in Claremont and candidates can get help writing their CVs, career counselling and coaching and interview coaching when needed.

For more information about the organisation, or to get involved, visit their website at www.dwde.co.za or call them on 021 674 6139.