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One On One: UWC’s School of Nursing Serves the Disabled

One on One Day 2017: UWC’s School of Nursing Collaborates to Serve the Disabled Community

3 December was the International Day of Persons with Disability - an important day aimed at raising awareness concerning the plight of those living with disabilities of various kinds - and that of their loved ones - and hopefully inspiring greater empathy amongst those of us who are fortunate to be considered physically, intellectually and psychologically sound.

It’s also a fitting day around which to acknowledge the efforts of UWC’s School of Nursing (SoN), in collaboration with Chi Omicron-at-Large and CPUT, in extending practical kindness and compassion to the intellectually disabled in the Western Cape at One-to-One Day 2017 at Green Point stadium earlier this year.

Chi Omicron-at-Large is a member chapter of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), which exists to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.

South African members of the Chi Omicron-at-Large Chapter (made up of three institutions: UWC, SA; Babcock University, Nigeria; and the University of Ghana) participated in One-to-One Day 2017 by hosting a stall at the event. One-to-One Day, coordinated by the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability (WCFID), is held annually in Cape Town, intended as a fun day for people with intellectual disability.

Those attending the event include people with intellectual disability from hospitals, private and public residential care centres, special needs schools and private homes, to name but a few - and this year more than 2 700 members were present at the event.

Chi Omicron- at-Large Chapter members from UWC (non-members also participated) and  CPUT took a proactive approach and started raising funds and collecting items for self-care packs (toothpaste, soap, etc.) in the early stages of the year, inviting support from friends, family and the University community. Fourth-year UWC nursing students of 2016 were among those who contributed financially - and generously - to the event.

In keeping with the playful theme of the event, the member attendees on the day were encouraged to catch a fish in order to win a fun prize. Chi Omicron members volunteered their time to man the table and engage with participants. There were long queues of keen and hopeful attendees eager to test their fishing skills - and hook a prize in the process!

The joy on the faces of these avid fishermen and women was a sight to behold, and the ‘gees’ at the stall was phenomenal - clapping, laughing and cheering all-round.

Additionally, a group of 12 nursing students volunteered to accompany 12 residents from the Alta Du Toit Aftercare Centre in Boston, so they too could enjoy the day. The students took their role very seriously, and the Alta Du Toit residents made the students’ job easy, being very accepting of these ‘strangers’ and immediately chatting with them.

The residents took it upon themselves to ensure the students enjoyed the experience as much as they did themselves - and by all accounts, they were very successful.

As one nursing student commented, “I’m so glad that I took part…indeed, it was great putting a smile on someone’s face.”

Another student shared, “This was such a memorable experience… thank you!”

A Chi Omicron member (UWC SoN staff) noted, “I just wanted to say thanks for today. It was such a humbling experience. Thanks to the team and all the students for the awesome day.”

The WCFID itself was deeply appreciative of the generosity and kindness extended as a result of this noble collaborative effort: “The WCFID would like to thank the volunteers who served at this fabulous event, One-to-One Day 2017. We are constantly amazed by the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the stallholders each year despite the numerous challenges we all face. Each year seems to just get better and better, and we are so delighted to be able to partner with such wonderful people in this initiative, and to see the joy and excitement it brings to so many.”