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Little Tags Make a Big Impact

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Sister Prinsloo (Cloetesville Clinic), Menushka Buddhu (Occupational Therapist) and Ronell Solomons (Bridge House School) with Thobani Menze and his mom, Portia Menze, at the handover of wheelchair number 4.

Bridge House School started working with Bread Tags for Wheelchairs in March 2017. Since linking up with them they have been able to secure wheelchairs for two local disabled persons. In late November 2018 they doubled that number.

The third recipient of a wheelchair bought from the sale of bread tags and bottle tops collected at Bridge House is Lenie Martinus. Martinus had a stroke which left her without the use of her legs and only partial use of one arm. As if that weren’t tragedy enough her husband and daughter died in the same year, leaving her with only her 25-year-old son as her caretaker.

Martinus’s husband worked on the farm where they lived. His death meant to keep their accommodation on the farm, her son had to give up his own future plans and take his father’s place as a labourer on the farm.  When he left for work in the morning, his mother was left sitting on a chair in the living room – unable to do anything for herself – until his return after work.

Things changed for the better when Adam Lewis, Servest Site Manager at Bridge House School, came to hear about Martinus through his brother and approached the school to see whether the Bread Tags and Bottle Tops for a Wheelchair initiative could help. It could indeed and this led to Lewis and Bridge House’s Ronell Solomons delivering a much needed wheelchair to her on 28 November 2018.

The very next day Solomons and Bridge House art teacher, Dave Fuller, delivered chair number 4 to 18-year-old Thobani Menze at the Cloetesville Clinic.

Thobani, who has cerebral palsy, lives in Cloetesville with his mother, Portia Menze. Taking care of him is a full-time job, so she cannot go out to work.

At the clinic the Bridge House delegation met Menushka Buddhu (the occupational therapist for this region) and the clinic’s Sister Prinsloo, who made sure Thobani got the treatment he needed to ensure his joints don’t fuse – as sometimes happens with patients who spend very long periods in the same position.

Bridge House’s Mr Fuller summarised it succinctly when he stated that all it took to make a major difference in the lives of two very deserving people was for a lot of people to make a tiny effort to recycle plastic bottle tops and bread bag tags and drop them off at Bridge House.

(Note: The Franschhoek Library also supports this initiative.)