On 27 February 2019, LITTLE EDEN Society hosted its official launch for the 2019 CEO Wheelchair Campaign. Speakers at the event included Nene Molefi, CEO of Mandate Molefi HR Consulting, Bharti Patel, National Executive Director of The South African Federation for Mental Health, Sandra Khumalo, a South African Rower in the Paralympics, Xelda Rohrbeck, CEO of LITTLE EDEN, and others from the LITTLE EDEN team.
Support for this campaign is drawn from major players, such as Discovery Limited’s Adrian Gore who stated: “One of the most humbling things I have ever done was to spend a day in a wheelchair – no cheating, no shortcuts, not even when going to the restroom. It makes you realise what living with disabilities is like and it takes just a few hours to humble you and change your perceptions forever. I plan to do it every year. LITTLE EDEN does remarkable work and it is an honour to be part of supporting their crucial work.”
LITTLE EDEN cares for over 300 residents who live with profound intellectual disability. This is a hands on facility that not only has therapies and aids for their residents 24/7, but also one where every member of the personnel deeply cares for and bonds with the residents who live there. The Campaign is in support of their mission to care for and assist these residents as well as to raise awareness about profound intellectual disability as well as immobility.
To participate in the CEO Wheelchair Campaign, CEOs donate R50 000 (R30 000 for smaller organisations) towards LITTLE EDEN and accept the challenge to spend any one day in March, in a wheelchair at their place of work, dovetailing with National Profound Intellectual Disability Awareness Month. CEOs can still sign up throughout March.
At the event the listed speakers delivered moving and thought-provoking messages:
Molefi spoke of her hard work and commitment that led to her success, and how women often have to fight for a place at the table. “But now that we are here, we have to ask ourselves; ‘what am I going to do, with what I have, to give back?’” Molefi continued by mentioning the dynamics within her workforce and how they are encouraged to live with a “head (intellectual buy in), heart (emotional buy in) and hands (implementation)” mentality. She concluded by saying; “LITTLE EDEN, we are a part of you.”
Patel spoke of the South African Federation for Mental Health support of LITTLE EDEN, not just in the Campaign, but with all endeavors. She also spoke of the importance of facilities such as LITTLE EDEN that move towards a “de-institutionalisation movement” of treatment and care. This ensures residents can have a better quality of life in an environment that feels more ‘home-like’, which is vital for mental health. She concluded: “It is a privilege and honour to be a part of something like this… It is very gratifying to be part of it.”
Khumalo gave a moving speech, detailing her own struggles with her disability and her journey to success as a Paralympic athlete. “(I) managed to find a positive way to work with what happened to me and to find joy”. She spoke admirably of the LITTLE EDEN team and mentioned how she draws inspiration and strength from the LITTLE EDEN residents; “They inspire me every day, they teach us that life goes on.”
All CEOs interested in participating in the LITTLE EDEN CEO Wheelchair Campaign may contact Mary-Anne Wright at [email protected]