The Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) and the Deaf in the Free State has been in existence since 1947 and this specific project was initiated in 1999. The need for this project arose because poverty amongst persons with severe disability is quite high and they do not normally have access to health facilities and health-related information. The vision of the programme is therefore to add value through economic empowerment and social integration of people with severe disabilities. This will be achieved by providing housing and care, facilitating income generation, access to health services and information, and provide equipment to persons with severe disabilities in the greater Mangaung and the surrounding rural communities.
Innovation: The APD has developed a framework within which social integration and economic empowerment can be separately pursued to the ultimate benefit of persons with severe disability. Separation of the two dimensions allows the APD and its partners to pay quality attention to each of the underlying parameters to each dimension. The programme reaches a group of people who are the most severely disabled and these people would otherwise be totally isolated and economically inactive. The partnerships between government, the community, private business and tertiary institutions ensure success.
Effectiveness: Housing and care for persons with severe disabilities (about 50 people). Placing persons in jobs in the open market by using the Employment Equity Act as a basis (+/-170 persons per annum). APD facilitates and manages a call centre with the Mangaung Metropolitan Council's Electricity Division (9 people have permanent employment). APD initiates and maintain income-generating projects for about 270 persons. An HIV/AIDS information and Awareness Campaign and Counseling programme reaches about 360 persons. The entire programme reaches +1000 people per annum. Between 400 adults and 200 children receive assistive devices each year, while transport is provided for 380 persons daily.
Poverty Impact: Persons with severe disabilities are receiving an income, proper health care and no longer live in informal settlements and inadequate housing. Others who are employed in the open market cancel their disability grants, these funds are can be used for others that do not have their opportunities. They are put in a position to care for their families, thus the reduction in poverty does not only benefit the individual but impacts the entire family. Those who were dependent on state transport are assisted by the project, this frees up more resources to help other people who are in need.
Sustainability: Funders and partners are satisfied with the outcomes and the impact of the programme and have indicated their long-term involvement.
Replication: APD has been contracted by the Provincial Department of Social Development to replicate in other parts of the province.