Two employees from Shonaquip – a social enterprise based in Cape Town – had to abandon their outreach services vehicle to find safety as a result of ongoing protest action in Khayelitsha on Tuesday, July 20. The vehicle was later discovered damaged beyond repair.

Established in 1992 by Shona McDonald, Shonaquip Social Enterprise is the first female-run wheelchair business of its kind in Africa.

The organisation was founded to provide appropriately fitted wheelchairs for children and adults, as well as capacity-building for local wheelchair practitioners. It also champions empowerment and advocacy programs that impact over 350 000 people with disabilities and their families every year.

The non-profit organisation has 30% inclusion across their team, providing meaningful work to individuals with mobility, hearing, learning and mental health disabilities.

They are now running a BackaBuddy campaign and are appealing to the public to help cover the cost of a reliable second-hand vehicle, similar to the one they have lost which is estimated to cost R350 000. The initiative was launched on July 24 and has thus far raised a total of R245 248 towards their fundraising target.

Currently, Children in South Africa wait approximately two to three years for a wheelchair, and this will soon increase as the department of health redirects funding to COVID-19 programmes.

As the only local supplier of paediatric posture support wheelchairs for children in Africa, Shonaquip provides hundreds of children who are unable to access government services, particularly during the lockdown, with the wheelchairs they desperately need to improve their lives.

“Children with disabilities and their families are some of the most vulnerable groups in South Africa, health needs escalated by poverty and poor access to livelihood opportunities mean that many families end up marginalized and isolated. One of the only ways to reach these families is for our team to travel to their homes in communities that are often prone to unrest and violence,” says Maria Britz, Seating Practitioner.

Without a vehicle, the organization will be unable to provide home-based services for children who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and therefore cannot travel. Shonaquip will also be restricted in delivering wheelchairs to government hospitals, clinics and centers across the Western Cape as well as the Northern Cape.

If you would like to support this worthy cause, a donation to their Backabuddy can be made here:

Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.