Our CEO was one of the first to support the 2019 LITTLE EDEN Wheelchair Campaign. These are her thoughts about the experience:
Spending a day in a wheelchair … at first it came across as an intriguing experience, something I have not given much thought to, prior to our LITTLE EDEN campaign. However once this journey on wheels started, I was almost overwhelmed by the experience and mixed emotions.
First is the practicality of the space you find yourself in. At first it appears easy. Passages and doorways seem large enough and more than adequately spaced; yet navigating them in a wheelchair in a confined space is tricky. In addition, there was the realisation of what becomes literally ‘out of reach’ due to me being much closer to the ground. Even interacting with people brings a different perspective.
Then the physical element of moving around … certainly doable on a flat surface. But more physically demanding when it comes to navigating up and down a ramp. I experienced conflicting emotions between appreciating assistance (a push up the ramp) and the need to strive towards independence.
Our upcoming appeal shares the story of Londiwe and how a customised wheelchair to meet her specific needs, makes a world of difference to her. I can relate to this first hand, experiencing small and insignificant discomforts when wheeling my chair around for a mere few hours. It gave huge insight into the physical and specialised care required for our residents to ensure their comfort.
I have to be honest: I started with an element of guilt knowing that I am blessed to be able to walk. However being at LITTLE EDEN, and having shared this experience in our environment, with our residents, this emotion instantly flipped.
From the fun I had playing tag with Mokgadi, chasing him in my wheelchair while he was on his bicycle, to Sonto’s concern that I was now in a wheelchair, I was surrounded by acceptance, contentment, appreciation, blessings and so much more. Other CEO’s participating in our Wheelchair Campaign will experience this differently, being in a different environment. But what stands out is the goodwill, commitment and understanding of society as a whole.
It was a humbling experience to have our LITTLE EDEN team behind me and to have inspirational women present at the official launch of this Campaign. Thank you to Sandra Khumalo, Barthi Patel and Nene Molefi. Together we can all make a difference and contribute towards the well-being of the most vulnerable members of society, giving them a voice and opportunity to say THANK YOU.
In closing, I find it fitting to use today’s opening quote from the diaries of Domitilla:
“These little ones with an empty, vague stare, due to their abnormality, their souls are more beautiful than bright sunshine, pure as the snow, shining like diamonds in the rays of the sun. They are angels , they are the most beautiful, they are our lightning conductors and we must protect them with veneration because these beautiful souls are our angels. God creator could have created them normal; there must be a reason that we cannot see and we accept this as a sign of predilection. Human suffering teaches us to be charitable, not egoistic and to dedicate ourselves to such suffering, our spirits are raised and at the end of the day we can say to ourselves: Today I have achieved a noble, beautiful, deed. Less chattering and more work, let us put our hand on our heart and work united for this noble scope.”