One man, 30 days and 1 390 km. The aim? To raise funds for people with mobility impairments. CLAIRE RENCKEN reports
In a bid to raise funds for the purchase of 30 wheelchairs, advertising executive TJ Njozela decided to walk from Johannesburg to Cape Town in just 30 days, in an initiative called #30days30wheelchairs.
TJ was in an accident earlier this year that left him dependent on crutches for eight weeks. This left him feeling vulnerable, as he was not in control of what he could and could not do – from travelling to and from work every day, to playing with his two young children at the park on weekends.
“My experience left me thinking about all those with mobility impairments, who may not have the luxury of a wheelchair because of a lack of funds,” he explains. “Instead of merely sympathising with them, I wanted to really make a difference. That is where the idea for the #30days30wheelchairs initiative was born. Through this, I hope to contribute at least 30 wheelchairs to the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA).”
QASA CEO Ari Seirlis will join TJ on the walk for a few hours, to give him moral support.
“It is our mission to develop the capacity of people with mobility impairments and it is actions like these that make it possible for us to help provide the appropriate mobility solutions through wheelchairs,” says Seirlis.
TJ began his journey on November 1, starting at the Protea Industrial Park in Soweto, Johannesburg, and ending at the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town. During his walk, he aims to interact with the people he will meet on his journey, and raise their awareness about the difficulties faced by people with mobility impairments, and stress the importance of the prevention of spinal-cord injury.
“I hope that the initiative inspires others to do what they can to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate,” concludes TJ.