Maurizio Galimberti from Oberon Pharma (Pty) Ltd spent his day in a wheelchair in support of the LITTLE EDEN Wheelchair Challenge and this is what he had to say about his experience:
“As an able–bodied person , I never understood that the world is not fully accessible to those with physical challenges …
This was highlighted recently, when I took up the challenge to spend a day in a wheelchair in accord to March being the National Disability Month but more so, in aid of the wonderful organisation known as Little Eden who cater for a large number of disabled individuals.
I made certain that from the moment I got into the office on the 26th March, that I would spend the whole day, until close of day, in the wheelchair. I discovered to my dismay, that a lot of my normal day to day chores and responsibilities were not easy to conduct and even restricted and hampered. My normal duties pertains to certain laboratory assessments; administrative functions; and supervisory duties. Even restroom sojourns and lunch break proved to be a burden.
One emotion that I experienced immediately was a feeling mixed conflict because although I was not handicapped and could step out of the chair at any moment, I began to feel a loss of independence.
Through this simulation, I found that my working environment was not at all wheelchair accessible, save for the elevator between the three different floors which obviated the use of the stairs for movements to differing floors. Swing doors proved to be a real challenge without additional assistance. Even a simple task of making use of a photocopier proved to be impossible because of the height which was way above eye-level. It certainly was most strenuous and a battle to move around independently and a request for some assistance was called for on certain intervals.
At the end of the day, I found myself tired and in some pain not just emotionally but physically as well. My hips were aching from sitting in one position and my arm muscles were fatigued from having to push my own weight around. I can now say that I undoubtedly have a better understanding of what it is to be disabled.
Being wheelchair bound held both mental and physical effects for me that left me with feelings of frustration , pain , annoyance and at times sadness. I wish to thank Little Eden for this challenge, as it unquestionably allowed me to develop a much greater respect and tolerance for the disabled person.