CBM SA’s Alex Msitshana, front, shares a moment with South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the Presidential Working Group on Disability.

President pledges support for people with disability

On Tuesday, 26 February, the Presidential Working Group on Disability (PWGD) met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who committed government to joining the disability sector of South Africa on a journey towards the full empowerment of people with disabilities.

CBM South Africa board member, Alex Msitshana, who is also a member of the PWGD attended the meeting and explained: “The disability sector spoke with one voice and were united in our action plans. We will now monitor implementation and work with the President and all government departments to make sure that people with disabilities are not left behind.”

The disability sector was represented by: Action in Autism, Epilepsy South Africa, the Association of Hearing Loss Accessibility and Development; Disability Workshop Development Enterprise, the Deaf Federation of South Africa, the Africa Disability Alliance, the Black Management Forum, the Albinism Society of South Africa, the Paralympic Committee, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) South Africa, Down Syndrome South Africa and Disabled People South Africa.

Other stakeholders included the Albinism Society of South Africa, the Institute for the Promotion of Disabled Manpower, the Disabled Children Action Group, the South African Federation for Mental Health, Kgalagadi People with Disabilities, Disabled Women South Africa, the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust, the Disability Association for South African National Military Veterans, Deaf Empowerment Firm;,BlindSA, the South African Deaf Youth Development Project;,the National Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy, the SA National Association of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons, disability veteran Ms Washiela Sait, the QuadPara Association of South Africa,the Global Mental Health Peer Review Network; and the South Africa Disability Development Trust.

Gardening – sustaining body and mind

Local primary school gives land for gardening project

The Rural Ability Programme’s community disability workers (CDWs) work with a group of 15 people who have a range of physical and intellectual disabilities and at the beginning of 2016, a group of patients approached the CDWs with an idea. They wanted to start their own vegetable garden.

A member of the school governing body of a local primary school mentioned that there was a large piece of land at the school that had been designated for a garden, but had never been used. He encouraged RAP CDW, Buzeka Nkanunu, to meet with the school’s principal to request the use of the land for a community garden.

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2017 Champalimaud Foundation Vision Award

On 5 September CBM was presented with the prestigious António Champalimaud Vision Award for 2017, for its work in actively seeking to empower individuals disabled by blindness. CBM was announced as joint winner of the annual award, the largest in the world in the area of vision, together with the UK charity Sightsavers, during a ceremony in Lisbon.
Dr Babar Qureshi, CBM Director for Inclusive Eye Health, and Massimo Maggio, CEO CBM Italy and Member of the CBM International Leadership Team, were present to accept the award on behalf of CBM.

CBM SA chair receives lifetime achievement award


The chairman of CBM South Africa’s board, Dr William Rowland received a National Lifetime Achievement Award at the Disability Rights Summit, organised by the Department of Social Development, which was held in Gauteng, South Africa on 12 March 2016.

Lifetime achievement award for Dr Rowland

Dr William Rowland and the rest of the CBM SA board members, taken recently in Cape Town, South Africa.
The CBM South Africa board – from left: (back) Martin Hahn, (front) Praveena Sukhraj, Dr William Rowland (middle), (front) Alex Msitshana, (back) Ben Pize
The chairman of CBM South Africa’s board, Dr William Rowland received a National Lifetime Achievement Award at the Disability Rights Summit, which was held in Irene, Gauteng on 12 March 2016.
Organised by the Department of Social Development, the summit was convened to analyse and convert the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into realisable outcomes through practical implementation.
As part of the event, the winners of the National Disability Awards were announced. “The awards were initiated in 2009 to celebrate persons with disabilities and disability activists who have excelled during the previous year,” explains Martin Hahn, CEO of CBM SA. “And I am delighted to congratulate Dr Rowland.
The National Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the significant contribution that he has made to the disability sector during his long and distinguished career.

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CBMSA board member attends congress

Ms Alex Msitshana, CBMSA board member, attended and presented at the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in July 2015. The congress covered a wide range of topics related to the deaf community and was an opportunity for networking and personal growth.

The CBM team at the World Congress for the Deaf July 2015
The CBM team photographed with CBMSA board member, Ms Alex Msitshana, at the World Congress for the Deaf. The event took place from 28 July to 1 August 2015.

One of CBM South Africa’s board members, Ms Alex Msitshana, attended the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey from 28 July to 1 August 2015.

The theme for the 2015 event was Strengthening Human Diversity. the congress aims to promote deaf people as a part of the global human diversity and to strengthen human diversity in the global deaf community. The presentations delivered over the five days covered a range of topics and included the following;

  • Human rights
  • Sign language and deaf culture
  • Education
  • Accessibility and technology
  • The situation in developing countries
  • Health

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Nepal earthquake

On 25th April 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, close to Kathmandu, the capital city.

CBM has been in contact with our staff and partners, who are all safe, and we are now planning a disability-inclusive response.

CBM response

a map showing kathmandu earthquake, nepal

On 25th April 2015 at 11:41 local time a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, with the epicentre 81km northwest of Kathmandu. There were tremors of up to two minutes and by evening, at least 18 aftershocks had been felt.

CBM Emergency Response Unit has been in contact with our Regional and Country Offices, and partners, who are all safe. We are in the process of planning a disability-inclusive response.

The local team has started assessing the situation, with partners, and international team is on the way.
CBM is supporting nine partner-projects in Nepal. These include eye and ear care programmes, orthopaedic and Community-based Rehabilitation services, mainstreaming of mental health and psychosocial disability, education and livelihood and empowerment of women as well as disability-inclusive development advocacy initiatives.

Disability and emergencies

The WHO estimates 15% of the global population live with disability. In any emergency or disaster, people who live with some form of disability are disproportionally affected. Reasons for this include inaccessibility of warning messages and emergency shelters, loss and damage of assistive devices, disruption of support networks and increased difficulty in accessing basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care services).

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New Programme Co-ordinator appointed

Shannon Morgan was appointed Programme Co-ordinator for the Rural Ability Programme.

We are delighted to announce that Shannon Morgan has joined the Rural Ability Programmeas Programme Co-ordinator.  Shannon is a qualified Occupational Therapist with a passion for community based rehabilitation.  She is also not a new face in the Zithulele community, having spent five year working at Zithulele Hospital and helping to develop rehabilitation services in the area. After spending last year working for the Cerebral Palsy Association in Port Elizabeth, Shannon has returned to Zithulele to play a lead role in the implementation of the Rural Ability Programme.

CBM South Africa Board Meeting

Dr William Rowland new Chairman of CBM South Africa CBM International President and CEO attends important board meeting November 2014

Dr William Rowland has accepted the nomination to serve as chairman of the CBM South Africa board and will bring a wealth of experience in disability and leadership to the international CBM family. William has founded several successful disability NGO’s over the decades, has served as the CEO for the National Council for the Blind, and served later as president of the WBU (World Blind Union).

Energizing developments for CBM South Africa

The board meeting in November 2014 was particularly important as the Strategy for the youngest member in the global CBM family was agreed upon for the next years.

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