Thami Mankenkeza from Vosloorus spends most of his time giving back to the disabled community. Mankenkeza is the founder and CEO of Wheels of Change, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the well-being of people with disabilities. Wheels of Change provide social and entrepreneurial support to people with disabilities, so that they can become active members of society.

Can you briefly tell us about yourself and your disability?

My name is Thami Mankenkeza, I was born is Vooslorus I got my disability after suffering a gunshot wound in 2007. I am currently the founder and CEO of the Wheels of Change organisation.

When did you establish Wheels of Change organisation and what motivated you?

The organisation was established in November 2016 and the aim of the organisation is to upskill people with disabilities. We offer a wide range of programmes for people with disabilities, namely, Computer literacy, Office Administration, Abet Classes, Further Education and training, Disability Driving School, Job placement, Business skills and start up assistance, Hand work Projects, Catering, Hairdressing, Agriculture – Backyard Farming, Brick laying, Plumbing, Electricity, Welding and Carpentry. There is a huge gap in job placements for people with disabilities because of their lacking skills – so we exist to help those types of people so that they can be absorbed by companies and government.

What challenges did you face when starting off, and what are some of the challenges that you’re facing now?

Funding is a huge challenge that we are facing as we do not have enough capital as an organisation. Another challenge is space. We want to build a skills development centre for people with disabilities. We need to have our own building where we will be able to exercise our skills as a disabled community.

What are your views regarding people with disability in South Africa?

A lot of disabled people isolate themselves so we want to encourage people with disabilities to come out. We are trying to improve the standard of living for people with disabilities. We cannot solely rely on the government. We must try and do things on our own, however we do get help from the government. In terms of how the business is running we are only transferring skills, we focus on the driving school because we had to stop some of the other programs due to venue constraints.

How many employees do you have?

Currently we have six (6) permanent employees and one casual employee.

What are the organisations goals?

Our goal is to build a development centre that will be a home to the disabled community. People can find us on Facebook — our page is Wheels of Change and our website is www.wheelsofchange.co.za.

What other projects are you involved in apart from your business?

Most of the time I am busy with the buying and selling of property and currently I am building a Pub n Grill that will probably open this year.

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