Wheelchair gift opens up a new life for Ayanda

Mhlaba Memela

After seven years without a wheelchair, Ayanda Jali of Pietermartizburg in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, is over the moon now that she can move around outside her home.

Nine-year-old Ayanda, a grade 4 pupil at HS Ebrahim School, last week received a wheelchair donated by the Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (Qasa) in conjunction with Nedbank.

Ayanda had said she was in desperate need of a wheelchair, but her parents could not afford to buy one for her.

"I am happy that for the first time in my whole life I am going to be able to move around the house and go to wherever I want to go," she said.

Ayanda said she was very pleased by Qasa's contribution to the quality of her life by giving her what she needed most.

Qasa has been running its Quad Squad Day campaign for nine years to raise funds to help the disabled.

This year Nedbank also donated more than R670000 raised by its staff members.

These funds were handed over to the South African Charity Trust, which distributed the funds to Choc, Cotlands, the Red Cross, Reach for a Dream, Ithemba Charities and Nedbank's own QuadPara Association.

Lyn Chivers, spokesman for Nedbank, said the company donated 300 quad bikes and riders, including their own staff and volunteers, who embarked on an epic four-day off-road ride from Balito Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast to Carnival City in Gauteng last year to raise funds for Qasa.

"Our strategy is to become a bank for all South Africans. We realise that this also includes those with various disabilities," Chivers said.

The Quadriplegic Association serves more than 10000 members and has developed self-help centres, which provide skills development, training, small business opportunities and capacity building programmes for the disabled.