Miracle on Wheels, the world’s first professional wheelchair dance company, staged a show at the Joburg Theatre today, 28 November 2018, as part of raising awareness on the plight of persons living with disabilities.
This special dance production company’s visit is aligned to the month-long commemoration of Disability Month from 3 November to 3 December 2018.
Nakshatra SA will partner with Miracle on Wheels over a three-year period to leverage a deepened understanding of the needs of differently abled persons in society. The initiative confronts education, unemployment and a lack of opportunity within the sphere of the arts, and is a specially tailored therapeutic vocational training programme, that is professionally choreographed, to eradicate stereotyping.
“This project has brought meaning and relief for the performers and gives hope to the audiences where they feel inspired to learn new skills and contribute to the financial needs of themselves and their families,” says Dr Syed Pasha.
Many people living with disabilities are not only coping to deal with their disabilities but are challenged by their environment which is often not equipped to meet their needs. This creates a barrier to employment opportunities.
The programme will provide a creative and cultural platform to engage with beneficiaries and civil society; will ensure that a transfer of skills to benefit South African youth, is critically embedded in the initiative; nurture inclusivity and audience development, through holistic and dynamic edutainment programmes; and act as a catalyst for socio-economic empowerment through the creation of employment.
“As one of the leading artists of Miracle on Wheels, other than being an artist, I’m also a trainer and choreographer. Miracle on Wheels has developed me professionally to edit film and sound which is an additional source of income. Today I am financially independent and run my home with pride and dignity,” says Ashiq Usman, a 27-year-old, who is physically challenged through polio.
Nakshatra is engaging with the business sector and various government departments on local, provincial and national levels to adopt this programme, which will impact the lives of people living with disabilities which builds inclusivity.
Its intention is to promote the appreciation and practice of South African Arts by nurturing and developing talent in South African arts within the disability sector; promoting and co-promoting performances while delivering education-based programmes with schools and colleges.
The importance of sustaining education and awareness programmes cannot be more relevant and needed in communities which will deal with the issues of inclusivity in the creative space, for youth living with disabilities.