Health & Wellness South African team members display its support for the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD)

South African team members display its support for the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD)

Lear’s Port Elizabeth Seating plant in South Africa displayed its support for the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) in the annual SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday Event, where people learn firsthand about the daily lives of those who must use wheelchairs. The main sponsor for the day is the SPAR Group, a leading retailer that supplies to more than 1000 SPAR stores across southern Africa.

The wheelchair event’s theme is “Spend 4 Hours in a Wheelchair – Change a Life”. This Port Elizabeth-area initiative is organized by the APD with the objective of having 120 local businesses participating and creating awareness regarding issues relating to accessibility for people with disabilities. Lear’s financial contribution would provide a wheelchair for someone in the community in need.

Participants are given four hours to accomplish tasks which may seem routine for people without wheelchairs but frequently present challenges for those in need. Graham Hayward (Operations Mgr.) volunteered as the Lear representative with Done Martin (Acting Supervisor) as his wheelchair assistant.

With Graham’s feet tied together while in the wheelchair, he was asked to perform four tasks during the allotted time, including: buy a stamp from the post office; withdraw money from an ATM; buy bottled water from a supermarket; and perform a few tasks at his workplace.

Related learning experiences in addition to the specific requests were: getting in and out of a vehicle; attempting to find designated parking for those in need; entering through security doors that only permitted one person at a time; and maneuvering through aisles that were not wheelchair-friendly.

“We thank Lear management for supporting this great initiative,” Graham said. “We have learnt a lot about the challenges encountered by those in wheelchairs both in the workplace and in the community at large. We look forward to participating in this event again next year.”

In further support for the APD, Port Elizabeth plant held a special and creative event last month where team members could donate to the organization and dress casually for the day and even compete for the Best Dressed title, with three winners receiving prizes, as employees celebrated the coming spring season in the southern hemisphere.

“This was a fun teambuilding exercise as well as helping out the community,” said Cindy Richings (HR Mgr.). “We could enjoy each other’s creativity and have a good time and know that it was all for a great cause.”

With almost 350 team members, Port Elizabeth began operations in 1995 and has 8000 square meters of manufacturing space, with capabilities ranging from surface material development, robot welding and sewing up through Just-in-Time assembly. Major customers include General Motors, BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen. 

Posted on 11/4/2015

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