Upington has one of the highest prevalence rates of people with disabilities and 11% of Northern Cape residents are living with disabilities. A total of 16 722 people in Upington are living with disabilities.
On Wednesday, the Department of Social Development launched the Oasis Skills Development Centre, a community centre which renders multiple services.
Learners are equipped with training and skills such as needlework, baking, beadwork and paving, which gets them ready for work opportunities.
A non-profit organisation, which receives support from the department, the centre has an Early Childhood Development facility with a stimulation room for children with disabilities to play and computer laboratory for improving computer skills.
The laboratory has 22 computers, a server for internet access and a printer. People with disabilities are also learning art work and produce furniture, garden chairs and tables.
In support of the Social Development Food Nutrition Programme, learners from within the centre have planted a food garden which helps provide nutritious meals, which in turns assists in reducing levels of malnutrition.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, called for all spheres of government to work together with entities and prioritise the rights of persons with disabilities.
To date, 15 skills development centres have been established to improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities.
Meanwhile, the department said it will soon host a Disability Summit under the theme: “Unified in diversity and disability, together advancing people’s power”.
The summit will assist with strengthening consensus on an accelerated programme of action to implement the White Paper for People with Disabilities.
The aim of the White Paper for People with Disabilities is to make provision for the removal of discriminatory barriers through universal access by ensuring that persons with disabilities are not segregated from main stream societal activities.
It further calls for “provision of barrier-free, appropriate, effective, efficient and coordinated service delivery to persons with disabilities”