UKZN Students Organise Casual Day for the Mentally Challenged
Third-year Occupational Therapy (OT) students championed a fun-filled Casual Day for residents in the Durban North community who have mental impairments.
Whether genetic or acquired birth defects, the mental impairments were surpassed by crafty and colourful artworks produced by participants and exhibited on the day as a result of UKZN-run sheltered workshops in Durban North.
OT Senior Tutor, Ms Chantal Christopher, said the Discipline had a six-year working relationship with the community and students were always hands-on, assessing the clients and finding means for individual or group treatment.
‘Our focus is on occupation,’ explained OT Senior Tutor, Ms Debbie Fewster. ‘The students help the clients to be as productive as can be with their time; improving their quality of life and social skills.’
Fewster said the day was a significant event and outreach initiative for the students. Not only did it put theory into practice but it was also a way of giving back to the community.
Casual Day is South Africa’s foremost fundraising campaign for persons with disabilities and is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities.
Student Ms Nontuthuko Sibiya said she and her colleagues felt producing art was a good way for all participants to showcase their creativity, abilities and uniqueness. ‘The Durban North Challenge formed part of our on-going work with the community.’
In line with Casual Day’s theme, Spring into Action, participants celebrated the new season with much laugher, dancing, craftsmanship, treats and snacks.