Life came to a standstill for Nomatile Gcabashe (51) when her blind husband passed on untimely. Gcabashe has been depending on the provision of her husband which came to an end when she lost her bread winner. She got a relief when she was inducted by the department into the household contractor programme in Dimbaza.
“Coming from a stressful and emotional burden of losing my husband, DRPW brought a smile and hope in my heart because not only I could provide financial stability for myself and my family but I met caring people here at this institute.” motherly Gcabashe beamed. This is after Amathole region, Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) team, funded and donated a prefab structure for Eastern Cape Braille Institution in 2014.
It became evident that the future of people like Gcabashe is brighter. Consisting of 27 blind and some partially blind members of the institution, getting work done was to bring unwanted attention and somehow safety implications to this bubbly group.
“Every day, we wear our colorful departmental overalls, onlookers that pass the site almost daily, would sometimes mock us or disperse of their yard garbage here, this gave me the idea that with this helpful stipend I receive from DRPW I must protect my family by putting in burglar doors at my house in Dimbaza.” added Gcabashe.
Giving testimony to the good and community uplifting service of DRPW, Thobile Komani (63) also a household contractor at Eastern Cape Braille Institution believes in working hard so one can achieve his personal ambitions.
“I am totally blind I do not dispute that reality but in all I have legs to walk, arms and hands to touch, these tools allow me to get on with the work I do every day which is removing the weed and driving the wheelbarrow. This in turn gives me the exercise my body needs and through that I get my money every month that assists me at home. I am grateful for this opportunity. ” Komani said.
The Eastern Cape Department of Roads & Public Works is making big strides in creating equal work opportunities for people with disabilities. This was proven when the department employed this group of 28 household contractors from the Eastern Cape Braille Institution.
Amathole EPWP Project Coordinator, Mbulelo Lugogwana, spoke passionately about the departments’ decision to take a chance and employ this group of household contractors.
“As the department, we went through all the necessary steps to launch this group of household contracts but as much as we have a mandate that requires us to employ a certain number of disabled people, we saw their willingness and capabilities to do the work,” said Lugogwana.
“This group of people really believe in their ability to do this job, so who are we to go against that and not support them,” concluded Lugogwana.
The Institute for Braille household contractor programme is responsible for the beautification and greening of the site, the land used to be an illegal dumping site hence the department provided protective clothing and cleaning equipment.
By Sive Zuzile and Thandiswa Mancoba