QASA is not only an efficiently run organisation; it also puts human rights at the forefront of its activities.
All organisations have ethical frameworks that influence the manner in which they operate. It is their way of how they go about their business. This way of doing things gets carried over and passed on to newer members who join the organisation. It develops into a culture trait of the organisation. It is not necessarily a set of formal rules that are legally binding, but it develops out of various principles, guidelines and certain values that people embrace. I have been a member of the Quadpara Association of South Africa (QASA) for a number of years. I am proud to acknowledge it and I strive to live up to the ethical framework of QASA.
The values of QASA include Dignity and Respect; Compassion and Understanding; Advocacy; Growth and Development; Transparency; Accountability; Equity. These values are very much in line with the principles of Ubuntu. It is visible in the community involvement and participation of the association in all the regions. But QASA is also a co-ordinating, policy-making, governing and supporting organisation. It strives to prevent spinal cord injury, as well as protect and promote the interests of people with mobility impairments by formulating a national policy and strategy, to develop and ensure the full potential and quality of their lives. It’s an ethical, human rights-based framework. It is this part of the work of QASA that I feel is most valuable to people with disabilities.
QASA and other like-minded organisations fulfil an important need in our community. We board members are responsible for overseeing its operations: we are responsible for maintaining the commitment to our organisation’s mission, establishing our strategic direction, ensuring our compliance with all applicable legal requirements, and maintaining our organisation’s financial well-being. This involves a great deal of responsibility. It is also vitally important that all people with disabilities choose suitably qualified organisations that will represent all that they believe in – organisations that they can be proud of, which will enhance their experience of disability.
I chose QASA. This is because QASA is being managed by people with disabilities who advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
I encourage everyone to recognise and interrogate the ethical frameworks of organisations, find a special place in the community and serve it, while making a difference in the lives of people with mobility impairments in South Africa.
Raven Benny is the chairperson of QASA. He has been a C5, 6 and 7 quadriplegic since 2000. He is married with five children, is mad about wheelchair rugby and represented South Africa in 2003 and 2005. He also plays for Maties. email: firstname.lastname@example.org