DWDE brings business and disability together

Some of the beneficiaries who have gained independence through the 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.

DWDE beneficiary, Samuel Malusi from Khayelitsha, says he read about the organisation in his local newspaper. The 52-year-old, right arm amputee now works in Epping as a driver and delivers in-house manufactured school furniture.

Mr Malusi says the help he’s received from DWDE has made a huge difference to his standard of living. “DWDE changed my life. I’m a working person now.” He says they also taught him not to undermine himself because of his disability.

Deliwe Mashaba from Gugulethu, 57, recycles hangers for a living and has been involved with DWDE’s self-help groups for quite some time. The leg amputee says the organisation has taught her a marketable skill as well as the business savvy to become part of a business cooperative.

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 details about the organisation, or to get involved, visit www.dwde.co.za