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Nappy Run campaigns to support kiddies with disabilities

29 Nov 2021

By Beverley Maphakane

The National Council of and for People with Disabilities (NCPD) is running its 10th annual Nappy Run campaign.

Nappy Run is a two-month long campaign held during October and November to raise awareness about children with disabilities and to collect nappies for them under the theme: “Children with Disabilities. Deserving of Dignity, Respect and Non-Discrimination.”

“On the awareness-raising side, we inform and educate the public on the many challenges faced by children with disabilities being a severely marginalised, exposed and vulnerable group”, said Therina Wentzel, national director at NCPD, in a media statement.

The NCPD, on its website and through Facebook updates, urged the public to donate towards purchasing of nappies. “Without a nappy, the child’s dignity, comfort, freedom of movement and health are compromised,” Wentzel said.

Wentzel added that disposable nappies are expensive and unaffordable to the majority of families of children with disabilities.  “Incontinence is associated with various types of disabilities and children with disabilities thus have a disproportionately high need for nappies and for longer periods of time, often requiring the use of nappies into their teen and adult years.”

Aiding the campaign is also a virtual Nappy Run fun event, which is sponsored by Alpha Pharmacies. The event runs from October 1 to November 30, where participants are encouraged to register for a run, walk or wheel and do a minimum of five kilometres over this period, wherever they are, to help the campaign reach a collective goal of 10 000 kilometres, in celebration of the campaign’s 10 years’ anniversary.

The year 2021 sees Nappy Run event go virtual for the first time, as it has always been held physically over the years until its suspension in 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak.

“The last physical fun run was in 2019 at the Joburg Zoo, and we had runs at our branch level where Association of Persons with Disabilities (APD) from Mthatha and Free State joined us, among others,” Dylan Mashele, public relations and communications officer at NCPD, told ThisAbility.

Mashele said that the world has now changed to the digital communication and the organisation also had to adapt. “As much as people are not yet familiar with the new ways of doing things, the public is supporting the project positively by registering for the run and the donors are more than happy with the virtual way of doing things,” he added.

Speaking to ThisAbility, Selinah Mampsha (not her name), a 26-year-old from Yeoville in Johannesburg, said the support from the campaign has impacted her. “It helped me save some money to use on other needs,” said the mother of a two-year-old beneficiary with cerebral palsy.

“I am not working, so buying nappies on my own weighs too much on me as I have two more kids to take care of. I am thankful for the support.” Mampsha added.

A donor and participant of the two previous fun runs who referred himself as Mr Beukes to ThisAbility said he is happy that the Nappy Run has resumed after a year’s break. “Even though it was more fun meeting up and running together with other participants pre-pandemic, I am glad that I can still contribute to the drive.”

“It gives me a sense of purpose knowing that I touch at least a life out there while doing what I love (running). This initiative is close to my heart, as it benefits children and I love children. This time I am recruiting family members to contribute by registering for the run and help reach more kilometres,” he continued.

Wentzel said the NCPD also exposes the many rights violations children with disabilities have to endure. “In our 2021 Nappy Run awareness-raising, the spotlight will fall on the denial of the right to a basic education of hundreds of thousands of children with disabilities of school going age,” she said.

“The continued stubborn denial of access to schools for children with disabilities by the department of basic education, compelled us to take hands with two other national disability NGOs to litigate against the DBE,” Wentzel continued. Preparations for this High Court case are at an advanced stage, and it is expected that the case will “soon be in front of the court.”

Mashele said the NCPD has a database of centres that cater and accommodate children with disabilities and of those parents that have children with disabilities, and all nappies are distributed nationally.

“In the last campaign we were able to collect over 100 000 individual nappies, and we are expecting a slight decrease event for this year’s campaign, taking into consideration the covid-19 implications,” he said.

Donations and registration of the virtual run can be made online on the campaign’s website, www.nappyrun.org.za, and more details of the virtual event are also available on the website.

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