Casual Day packs a R28 million punch for the rights of persons with disabilities

Alma School learner Oratile Mtsweni

‘As we prepare to celebrate Human Rights Day on Saturday 21 March, we are proud to announce that a significant proportion of the funds raised by Casual Day go towards lobbying for the rights of persons with disabilities.’

This is the word from Casual Day project leader, Celeste Vinassa, who added that SA’s foremost fundraiser for persons with disabilities, raised R28 million countrywide last year. ‘This is over R3 million more than we raised last year, which means we can expand our reach and secure greater rights for our constituency.

‘Since the inception of the project in 1995, we have never seen such a massive year-on-year growth. The final audit has been done and the 2014 campaign has been closed off. Our aim this year is to spread the message of the social impact of the funds. Much of the work that we do is in lobbying for the rights of persons with disabilities at both the government and corporate level,’ she said.

Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA). Since 1995 Casual Day has made it possible for the NCPPDSA fulfill its mandate of creating a fully accessible and inclusive society for all, raising R223 million.

According to Vinassa this money will benefit thousands of persons with disabilities through the branches of the 12 beneficiary organisations in every region – R17 million was raised by the NGO sector, while the remaining R11 million was raised through in the corporate sector. The beneficiaries of the funds, collected via a donation for a R10 sticker, on the first Friday in September each year, include 500 schools and organisations that render services to persons with disabilities.

Casual Day’s new chairman, Dr Lusani Netshitomboni, Chief Planner: Strategy, Planning and Quality Assurance of the University of South Africa, said ‘Casual Day is one way to speak with one voice about inclusion, diversity and universal access to education, communication, and human rights for all.

‘This partnership between all the different players in the disability sector contributes to the success of Casual Day. Disability organisations countrywide are all feeling the pinch of a constrained economic climate, and that is why it is so important for the entire disability world to speak with one voice and lobby together for our place in the sun.’

Vinassa said ‘We must acknowledge the selfless work of Miss World, Rolene Strauss – as well as our ambassadors and the media, who helped us spread the message last year. Casual Day’s mission is to raise funds, but it is also to raise awareness around disability, and we can only do this with our army of celebrity volunteers.’

Casual Day ambassador and disability rights activist Terry Ann Adams last year took up the challenge to educate South Africans about disability through the media. ‘I am shocked at the fact that so many children with disabilities are neglected and outside the school system. With proper stimulation and care, their lives can be considerably enriched. Casual Day money goes towards providing for their needs,’ she says.

Casual Day’s anchor sponsor, the Edcon Group, announced that their employees raised R2.3 million in 2014 in the various Edcon stores and that their employee volunteering programme evolved out of the group’s involvement with Casual Day and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. She said Edcon’s employee volunteering programme also raises funds through a clothing recycling programme. The funds raised are then put towards sourcing mobility devices for children across the disabilities spectrum.

‘Edcon, through the donation of surplus merchandise, now also supports the income generating projects of the regional Association for Persons with Disabilities branches. Through this support, individuals are empowered to become economically active’.

Casual Day’s national beneficiaries include the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities, SA National Council for the Blind, SA Federation for Mental Health, the Deaf Federation of SA, QASA, Autism South Africa, Down Syndrome South Africa, The National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy, the South African National Deaf Association, the National Institute for the Deaf, Alzheimer’s South Africa and the South African Disability Alliance.

Casual Day is on 4 September this year. Watch this space for the announcement of the theme and official colour of the year.

You can contact the organisers of the project on 011 609 7006 or visit our website at www.casualday.co.za

The funds are raised as a result of a R10 donation for a Casual Day sticker.

Keep abreast of activities at Casual Day on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CasualDaySA

Twitter: @CasualDay_SA

#CasualDay

For more information, photographs and publicity material call

Andrea Vinassa / Media co-ordinator for Casual Day

Cell: 079 089 9835

Landline Cape Town: 021 790 6698

Landline Edenvale: 011 609 7006

Casual Day ambassador Terry Ann Adams and Miss SA Rolene Strauss

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