Social work services for greater Johannesburg are rendered in region B, E and F in both the formal and informal settlements.

History – Social Development:

The Social Development Programme started in 1934.  The areas of operation in the Johannesburg region are disadvantaged communities with poor infrastructure.  People with disabilities are further disadvantaged with regards to poverty, lack of formal education, the high rate of unemployment and access to essential services, etc.  These were identified as problems that needed to be addressed.  Sub-offices were established in the following areas to be accessible to the communities serviced:

  • Alexandra, 1993
  • Johannesburg, 1939

Goal of the Project

To be totally committed to working in partnership with people who have physical disabilities, mobility impaired and their families or support systems, in order to promote their integration into society, and to enable them to develop to their full potential.

Target Group

Persons with physical disabilities and/ or mobility impairment, their families/support systems, children, youth, adults, and the elderly, HIV/AIDS infected and affected.

Care and Support

Social work services are rendered to capacitate people with appropriate knowledge to access relevant services and the skills to resolve their problems and to achieve their full potential to lead independent lives.  In 2010/11 over 338 intakes were attended to and 307 home visits were conducted.  1580 interviews were conducted either telephonically or face to face.

Inquiries which were attended to include the following:

  • applications for social grants and identity documents,
  • Psychosocial support of people with disabilities and their families,
  • unemployment issues and placements in the workshops,
  • Residential facilities and school placement as well as applications for bursaries,
  • Application for assistive devises and RAF claims
  • Application for housing
  • Workman’s compensation claims

About 113 referrals were made to different government departments, law firms, schools, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, as well as other NGOs etc.  55 clients were placed in different places like residential homes, schools, open labour market and workshops. 15 clients received assistive devices from APD,BaragwanethHospital, Westbury and Hillbrow clinic. 2 clients were also assisted to get off the street by APD by sending them back to their homes, as they were from other provinces here inSouth Africa.

Poverty Alleviation

Reducing the levels of poverty by empowering PwD’s to establish and maintain income generating projects has always been a challenge.  There are currently, four income generation projects which are administered by APD social auxiliary workers 2 in Alexandra and one Coronation.  They are all running and 63 members and their families are benefiting.  38 meetings were held with the project members of the three projects.  The main focus of the projects is to empower the members with skills to set up and sustainable income generating projects.  However, there are challenges including selling of the product and learning disabilities of some of the members.  Other members are involved in the projects, specifically for their therapeutic purposes as they have mental disabilities.

Alexandra Sizakhele community project members are doing bead work, sewing and finishing eye patches projects continue.   They have made an income of R7000 from the sales of their products.

Community work project for the physically and mentally challenged still continues at Coronationville Care Centre and Workshop.  The bead work product (necklaces and bracelets) has been sold.  R400.00 has been generated and members managed to benefit from the income.

Sithandiwe disability care project in Alexandra for bead work is still functioning. The project is now affiliated to GPAPD. Table for selling of the product was approved at Green stone mall.

Education and Training

30 education and awareness programmes were conducted in Region B, E and F clinics, hospitals and other organizations during the period under review. Places where the awareness’s were conducted include: Helen Joseph Hospital, Usizo Oluntwini senior citizens, Coronationville, Crown Gardens clinic, Klipspruit, Joubert park, Clermont, Bosmont, Ebenhouse, Mayfair, Malvern and Alexandra F.M.  The aim was to inform the community about APD services, creating partnership with the clinics and hospitals for referral purposes, educating communities about the rights of people with disabilities and making people with disabilities aware of their rights.  Over 1000 people were reached through education and awareness programmes. Topics which were covered include APD services, rights of people with disabilities, care for people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse, social work services.

Life Skills Development

To promote individual self – development and provide supportive services through a group work methods.  There are 3 support and life skills groups which were facilitated by social auxiliary workers in 2010/11.  37 group sessions were conducted by the workers.  70 members benefited from the group sessions and the beneficiaries consisted of adult women, men, youth and children with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The topics which were covered during group sessions include: Hygiene, social skills, Identification of different colours, self employment, disability and dating, reading the clock, self awareness and development, communication skills, problem solving, assertiveness training, anger management, decision – making, positive lifestyle, HIV/AIDS, health issues, language and disability.

The group members had two outings to JACOD and Johannesburg ZOO to facilitate group cohesion and for educational purposes.

One group which was conducted at women for peace has been running for more than a year and it was terminated. Initiation for starting another group has been made for extension 7 in Alexandra.

Staff Training

To enhance the education and development of social work personnel (social workers and social auxiliary workers) and to ensure a high standard of service delivery, the workers receive training in Trauma, Dementia, Mainstreaming and Mental Screening.

Networking

Networking is done at a local level with different Service Providers. This is done through forums and with individual contacts with the purpose of discovering resources, skills and knowledge available for us.

The Social Work Department represents APD at the Provincial Disability Forum hosted by the Department of Social Development – Provincial office, the Gauteng Welfare Social Service Development Forum, Region B Disability Forum and The City of Johannesburg Disability Forum. At Alexandra the Social auxiliary worker represent APD at the Service Providers Meetings.

Challenges

  • Lack of funding for staff training and capacity building of community based organisations.
  • Lack of support from regional and local government structures to capacitate income generation projects.
  • High illiteracy rates in the townships and informal settlements, apathy with regards to community involvement and dependence on social grants.
  • Lack of available residential facilities for placing PwD’s during crisis and lack of adequate housing/ accommodation.
  • In accessibility of public schools for children with disabilities.
  • In accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities.
  • Lack of enough and functional computers and machinery, especially at Alexandra office.
  • A vehicle for staff to attend to emergencies.