"I prefer the term challenged as opposed to disabled. Disabled sounds like something is wrong with you whereas challenge sounds like something you can overcome"
Chris- Baker at Oasis Claremont
It is something most of us take for granted; the right to work, the sense of worth that comes from being paid a wage and the satisfaction of a job well done. But this simple thing is still denied to many people. The intellectually disabled remain predominantly outside the labor market and in South Africa, where extreme poverty and lower standards of public services are very real problems, the chances for employment for the mentally disabled are very rare.
Oasis is a non-profit organization in Cape Town that runs two recycling centres. Their workforce is almost entirely made up by a group of intellectually disabled individuals who sort the recycling by hand, then pack it to sell on to recycling factories. The income from the sale of the recycling materials, and from the Claremont bakery and bric-a-brac shop, helps fund schooling, transport, meals, social care and housing. It also provides an active social life for the workers, some of whom have been under the care of Oasis from childhood and on into late adult life.
The chance to work, to earn a wage, and to interact with the general public helps to give the workers not only a sense of worth, but of pride and empowerment whilst dispelling the myths and the negative misconceptions that surround intellectual disabilities.
To learn more about Oasis please go to http://www.oasis.org.za