A Wynberg wheelchair organisation needs money to replace its outreach vehicle, destroyed during protests in Khayelitsha.
Shonaquip, in Lester Road, is a not-for-profit organisation that makes and supplies wheelchairs and mobility aids. It also provides a range of associated services to the disabled.
On the night of July 20, two Shonaquip staff had to abandon the outreach vehicle and run to safety after getting caught up in ongoing protests in Khayelitsha. The vehicle was later found destroyed.
Without a vehicle, Shonaquip can’t provide its home-based services for children and is restricted in its delivery of wheelchairs to state facilities in both this province and the Northern Cape.
The organisation has launched
a BackaBuddy appeal to raise the R350 000 it says it needs to buy a reliable second-hand vehicle similar to the one it lost. So far it has raised about R270 000.
The organisation was established in 1992 by Shona McDonald.
When Shona’s daughter, Shelly McDonald, was born in 1982 and diagnosed with cerebral palsy,
Shona and her family experienced first-hand how difficult it was to find devices to support her care, development and learning.
With Shona’s personal experience of Shelly’s needs, she threw herself into building Shelly’s first full body support wheelchair so that by age of 2, Shelly was already
testing out her ability to control her first motorised wheelchair.
Shonaquip started as a small closed corporation, running out of Shona’s garage, selling Shona’s custom-made buggies
(specialised wheelchairs designed to provide full body and head support for users who cannot sit independently) and support devices.
Shonaquip now employs over 40 technicians, seamstresses and therapists and provides empowerment and advocacy programmes that impact over 350 000 people with disabilities and their families every year.
The organisation also provides work to individuals with mobility, hearing, learning and mental health disabilities.
“Children in South Africa currently wait approximately two to three years for a wheelchair, and this will soon increase as the Department of Health redirects funding to Covid-19 programmes,” said Zane Groenewald, spokesperson for BackaBuddy.
“Shonaquip, provides hundreds of children who are
unable to access government services, particularly during the lockdown, with the wheelchairs they
desperately need to improve their lives.”
Maria Britz, a seating practitioner at the organisation, said children with disabilities and their families were among the most vulnerable in South Africa.
“Health needs exacerbated by poverty and poor access to livelihood opportunities mean that many families end up marginalised and isolated. One of the only ways to reach these families is for our team to travel to their homes in communities that are often prone to unrest and violence.”
Mr Groenewald said Covid-19 had also made it harder for Shonaquip to raise funds because funders had been forced to scale back and that had a knock-on effect on the organisation’s work in poor communities.
You can find Shonaquip’s BackaBuddy account at https://www.backabuddy.co.za/
email Mr Groenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org