A student society at the university of Johannesburg Kingsway campus, gave “abled” students an opportunity to experience what it feels like to be disabled using an obstacle course.
Demonstrating our abilities and recognising excellence (Dare), is a society supported by Campus Health Service and the Institutional Office for HIV and Aids (IOHA). “This organisation provides support for disabled students on campus to ensure academic and social success”, said Nkateko Mkhandlwa (20), who is a chairperson of the organisation and also a second year BCom accounting student in a wheelchair
Dare ran a four part obstacle course which was meant to illustrate to what it feels like to be disabled. The first part was the teaspoon challenge where participants were required to hold a teaspoon full of pebbles without them falling while walking down the Ales ramp. If the pebbles fall then the participant would be required to start over.
The second challenge was the painting challenge where participants were required to choose a letter of the alphabet and paint anything they could associate it to using the opposite hand to the one which they use. The third part was the wheelchair challenge where a pair of participants would team up to push a wheel chair while the pusher is blind folded. They looked for clues along the Bles ramps. The final part was kicking a ball blinded through a small goal post 3 times. Before playing, participants were given arm bands and signed a register which was full so participants were keen. Afterwards participants would walk away with prizes such as pens, key rings, sweets and even varsity cup T-shirts.
CTV spoke to one of the participants, “It’s a humbling experience to be part of this obstacle course, it makes you appreciate the fact that you are fully “abled” and respect disabled people for their disabilities do not limit them from living a full on-campus life”, said Lawrence Mashiyane a 2nd year Linguistics student. Campus TV also spoke to some of the facilitators; Ntombifuth iMthetwa said, “ Dare is a community engagement which involves all university societies to work together during such projects and to do such events on campus.” Another facilitator Sthabile Msizafrom IOHA commented, “Dare raises awareness that students need to do more to help.”
Another chairperson from Dare Julia Somasa (20) said that the organisation began in 2013 as a way to help disabled students adapt to life in varsity. She said that it is commendable for the university to have facilities for disabled students and that it helps them not to feel inferior to other students. She also encouraged other students to join the organization to increase awareness about disabilities and do more events like this one.