Economic Empowerment

By: Epilepsy South Africa  06-14-2011
Keywords: Epilepsy SA

The expansion of the Epilepsy SA economic development network in both the private and public sectors ensures access to up-to-date information and allows new opportunities to be identified.  This network also forms the basis of memoranda of understanding/agreement for improved service delivery.
*Branch support:
The programme aims to provide support and training to the economic development initiatives of Branches.  This is achieved through regular visits to Branches to review development, identify needs and provide the required support
*Workshop Transformation Programme:
This Programme addresses the empowerment of people with disabilities working within protective workshops.   Epilepsy South Africa developed a model for the transformation of protective workshops.
*Income generation projects:
It is estimated that only about 1% of people with disabilities currently enjoy employment.  The high rate of unemployment in the disability sector is further underlined by the poor performance achieved by both the public and private sectors in terms of employment equity.  These factors clearly indicate that employment in the second economy offers a real solution to the unemployment crisis facing people with disabilities.  It must further be understood that people with epilepsy suffer far more stigmatisation and discrimination (especially in terms of employment) than people with physical or sensory disabilities.  This programme aims to build capacity (knowledge and skills) within Epilepsy South Africa for the establishment and development of income generation projects in the second economy.  The first Training of Trainers seminar was successfully hosted in Gauteng in January 2007 and a second seminar in Cape Town in October 2007.  This programme will soon achieve accreditation in terms of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
*Entrepreneurial development:
Both national and international research studies in recent years have identified the value of entrepreneurial development in the disability sector as a solution to the high unemployment figures.  Thus, this programme will assist in breaking down the current dependency on disability grants evident in the sector through job creation.  Epilepsy South Africa utilises various tools to meet the needs of potential, emerging and existing entrepreneurs with disabilities such as the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) Programme of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)and the Vuk'Uzensele Programme.  The National Office regularly hosts training of trainers seminars nationally, thereby building capacity at the provincial and local levels. During 2010 Epilepsy South Africa will be enhancing our entrepreneurial development programme by adding two new components: Social entrepreneurship; and Women's entrepreneurial development The term "social enterprise" describes a viable and financially successful business with a social/environmental focus.  Many of the small businesses established through initiatives and interventions of Epilepsy South Africa fall in this category. August 2010 will see the launch of the Epilepsy South Africa Women's Entrepreneurial Development (WED) programme.
*Disability employment awareness:
The programme aims to create awareness and understanding of the employment rights of people with epilepsy and other disabilities, especially in the public sector.  This will be achieved through a series of sensitization workshops held in selected national government departments and institutions.

Keywords: Epilepsy SA

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