Local NPO gets international accolade
15 June 2023
The management of Lead Change Development, a Non-Profit Organization operating in Dobsonville, Soweto, is still shocked with their international recognition but proud of their achievement.
They say receiving an international award means they are on the correct path to serving people with disabilities.
The organization has been awarded an international accolade from the British company Acquisition International for its exceptional work towards empowering persons with disabilities through skills development.
Lead Change Development was established in 2011 to alleviate poverty by providing opportunities for persons with disabilities in townships.
According to the organization’s founder Shaun Soko, they take the accolade as a source of motivation and encouragement in their work to support people with disabilities across South Africa.
He said that this signifies that determination and hard work ultimately pays and that their services respond to the needs of people with disabilities.
He said everyone was excited when they received the news that the NPO was chosen to win “The Most Empowering Disability Education NPO 2023 – South Africa” in the Non-Profit Organization Award 2023.
“Yes, there was a level of excitement, but a restrained excitement when we received the news; we were surprised to have managed to scoop this award from an international company, especially because we are an organization that operates in the township of Soweto, you would expect such to happen to the organizations that operate in first world countries or perhaps those who operate Sandton, but, we are extremely excited to have done it, and we are looking forward to doing even better going forward,” Soko added.
He further indicates that when you run an NPO, there are times when you feel exhausted. Still, when you get recognition, especially from a multinational company like Acquisition, it revives you. You feel like you want to do more.
“To be honest, this award has given us new energy,” he added. He said they aim to dispel the notion that people with disabilities are not capable enough and are, unfortunately, always judged in everything they do.
Since its inception, the organization has made great strides and has placed over 40 learners with disabilities in permanent employment and over 200 more in different leadership.
Soko highlighted that one thing that has been keeping them going as an organization is the love for their work and, most importantly, to be passionate about what they do, especially for persons with disabilities.
He said that after receiving an award, everyone at the organization feels rejuvenated and that these services are required for South Africa.
“People are now motivated and eager to do even more.”
The organization provides computer-related skills to persons with disabilities. They started receiving funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development in 2015.
Soko said he was inspired by his passion for helping people with disabilities to reach their potential. He said there are people with disabilities, and they are brilliant, and they can also contribute to solving some of the country’s problems in the future through the skill they give them.
“Look, we are a non-profit Organization to educate & empower individuals with disabilities. We target previously disadvantaged youths by offering professional ICT-focused training & various skills development programs at no cost to the beneficiaries”, Soko explained.
Currently, the organization has placed four beneficiaries in permanent employment at SAGE. Soko added that if they can be capacitated enough, they want to expand their services across the province of Gauteng to reach more people because they realize that people need them.