The Living Link: Creating Abilities from Disabilities
- Living Link
- Country of Implementation
- South Africa
- First published
“Every child is gifted, they just unwrap their packages at different times.” Anonymous
Due to the lack of life and work skills, there are negative stereotypes of people living with disabilities, leading to their disempowerment and exclusion from society. As such, the program strives to provide them with independence, work readiness skills, social acceptance and integration, a better quality of life, and employment.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The program uses the independent living principles found in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States as adapted to the South African context. Further, The Living Link has developed its own methodologies to assist people living with intellectual disabilities to become employed and, if the possibility exists, to live independently. Basic capabilities are developed through work readiness and life-skills training, which then lead to job sampling in order to get experience and participation in the open labour market. With the independent living tour comes a final assessment to understand the individual’s growth and capabilities of newfound skills and competencies. This approach is slowly breaking down long-standing stereotypes and barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities, and the South African work environment is now slowly embracing the concept of employment of people with disabilities.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Currently the organization is based only in the Gauteng privince and is the only organization of its kind. The Living Link focuses on adults who have an intellectual disability, and refers candidates to other organizations if they are found to be too low functioning. While there are other organizations that perform similar work, The Living Link is alone in focusing specifically on intellectual disability only. Thus, there is an urgent need to extend the program to other provinces. However, becasuse The Living Linke is a non-profit organisation, it is unable to get credit from South African banks, and must therefore explore other sources of financing.