The Southern African Wildlife College has an ethos of inclusion of all people, of all ages, ethnicities, religions, and abilities.
Launched in 1995, Casual Day is an awareness and fundraising campaign benefiting persons with disabilities. Each year on the first Friday of September, South Africans are encouraged to go to work or school dressed differently – either dress up or dress down – and to wear the official Casual Day sticker to show their support for persons with disabilities.
The campaign encourages the public to contribute financially through a small donation of R10 for a sticker, and at the same time lobbies for the full inclusion and equity of persons with disabilities. So, not only does it raise funds, but it also raises awareness of the challenges and potential of the community in a fun way!
This year Casual Day fell on 7 September 2018, and a group of junior managers approached the HR Manager to ask how the College could participate in this event, and show its support for differently-abled people. The HR department was keen to assist and show its support as the College has a firmly established welfare strategy for looking out for its own employees and students when ill or faced with challenges.
The junior manager group, led by HR’s Administrator, Percy Maake, included Dineo Chiloane (Logistics Manager), and Goodness Rhandzane (Stores Administrator), and together, after consulting other junior managers, junior staff, and students, they came up with a programme for the day.
Having identified a school in our nearest community, the God’s Will School for disabled children, managed and owned by an ex-employee of the College, Leaveit Masuku, they assisted this school by painting the school building, planting some crops for the school to use for the pupil’s lunches, and providing the children with refreshments during the day. The school is the only school in the village of Welverdiend, the village nearest to the College, that caters specifically for disabled children.
Operations Manager, Michael Gardiner, assisted the group with contacts for donations of paint, and released Surprise Seepane (Maintenance Handyman and Painter) to assist, whilst the Head: Human Resources, Lesley Greyling provided support, transport, and refreshments. Dr. Yolanda Pretorius took time off from her schedule to assist the volunteers who painted the school, and helped plant spinach, beetroot, and onions. The volunteers included Rejoyce Mdhlovu (Short Course Administrator), Professor Mtungwa (Community Liaison Officer), Thinatia Seepane (Community Development and Youth Access Administrator), Fanuel Nleya (Volunteer: Academic Support and Quality Assurance), Martin Mokgope (Casual: Maintenance Department), Goodman Mafumo (Casual: Maintenance Department) and of course our painter, Surprise Seepane.
The 7th of September was a busy day for the College, with a high level delegation visiting on theday. This precluded many staff who would have assisted from attending, but the event was none-the-less a great success, and much appreciated by the school and its children.
It is important to point out that the junior manager’s themselves decided on the programme for the day, and on a personal basis offered to obtain donations and to spend time painting the God’s Will school for disabled. The disabled children at God’s Will, are often not accepted at other schools, but require stimulation and care, most particularly while their parents are at work.
Altogether 96 stickers, out of 100 provided by the organisers of Casual Day, were sold to staff and students supporting Casual Day. The remaining four tickets have also now since been sold making this event not only successful but also very heartwarming.