If you take the time to listen to the stories of others, you can find a well of motivation to get involved and help. That’s the hope of Polokwane-based Ramphele Mawelewele, who, through her journey and advocacy, is hoping to improve the lives of people who live with disabilities.
Mawelewele’s life changed in her matric year when a motor accident left her with paraplegia. That didn’t stop her enrolling for a food technology qualification. When she had to do experiential training, not a single company would hire her because of her disability. More than six years later she is still campaigning for businesses to be more open in hiring those with disabilities.
This injustice has led her to her current place of work, the KG Maluleke Memorial Disability Integration Organisation. It’s an nonprofit that advocates for inclusive education by assisting physically-challenged learners move from specialised schools into traditional schools, helping with tuition and adjusting to a new learning environment. She also facilitates the dialogue at the schools, universities and homes of people with disabilities about gender-based violence and the mistreatment of people with physical and mental disabilities. Mawelewele faces challenges with resilience, challenges that most people with disabilities face at some point in their lives. She’s hoping to remove those obstacles to make South Africa a more inclusive place.