For paraplegics, the pandemic has made work from home viable

2 May 2020 by Duncan Guy 

Durban – Paraplegics and quadriplegics must embrace the changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought about, said Ari Seirlis, who serves on the presidential working group on disability and is former chief executive of the QuadPara Association of SA.

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of the working world. These changes are to our advantage,” he said in a circular.

“Working from home has been legitimised, as a workable viable option, overnight.

“Our mobility is always dependent on us having access door-to-door, with very little accessible public transport. Many employers have battled and grappled with finding a place for us in the workplace.

“Let’s package our skills and concede to inaccessible environments for the moment, and use this opportunity to show employers that we are the best constituency for ‘working from home’ jobs,” he urged quadriplegics and paraplegics.

“Pivot your choice of skills and knowledge to ‘working from home’ subjects and careers. We have the opportunity, for the moment, to bypass the age-old barriers of entry into the workplace of inaccessible buildings and transport.

“Let us enhance our IT skills and knowledge in readiness to work from home.

“Now is the time to promote our viability through the BBBEE legislation environment.

“We may be the best choice for those jobs reassigned to the home environment.”

He said this would offer employers the best of both worlds.

“They neither have to see us nor accommodate us, yet they will get the benefit of their Employment Equity box ticked and we get employment. We are comfortable in our homes. Our caregivers, if we have, remain close and by us, yet out of sight of our Zoom profile.”

Seirlis also said the lockdown had put at risk the many businesses owned by quadriplegics and paraplegics, and the trustees of the Charitable Trust, of which he is one, had identified this and made funding available for rescue and sustainability of these businesses.

“The vision of the Charitable Trust is not only to provide the resources for these small businesses to produce and provide services, but also markets within which to operate and serve,” said Xolani Mchunu, the trust’s chairperson.

Source: IOL at https://www.iol.co.za/ios/news/for-paraplegics-the-pandemic-has-made-work-from-home-viable-47468429