The Chaeli Campaign was founded on 6 August 2004 by five girls between the ages of 6 and 12. Chaeli Mycroft, her sister (Erin) and lifelong friends, the Terry sisters (Tarryn, Justine and Chelsea) started The Chaeli Campaign to raise R20 000 for Chaeli’s motorised wheelchair. They managed to do this in 7 weeks by selling cards with Erin & Chaeli’s artwork on them and Sunshine Pots (DIY miniature pot plants).
Although Chaeli is the face of The Chaeli Campaign the spirit on which this organisation is based is the teamwork that exists amongst the five founding members.
Our Vision is to mobilise the minds and bodies of children with disabilities and to normalise society through advocacy and education programmes and events.
The Objectives of The Chaeli Campaign are to:
- Promote and provide the mobility and educational needs of disabled children under the age of eighteen years, throughout South Africa;
- Use its facilities and resources to assist the disabled community in any way it sees fit;
- Work in collaboration with other organisations for the advancement of the disabled community;
- Act as a facilitator to other centres / organisations / communities in Africa.
The Chaeli Campaign aims to change the life of one disabled child at a time in a significant way.
It is our privilege to engage with people, to share positive experiences and to invite community members to focus on the ABILITY and POTENTIAL of our children with disabilities.
Our Therapies Programme benefits hundreds of children in several communities around Cape Town where we offer our regular physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy sessions. The impact of this programme can be seen where children obtain increased comfort and mobility as a result of regular therapeutic intervention. We also run an on-site therapy centre at Chaeli Cottage (our headquarters in Plumstead, Cape Town) for children from disadvantaged communities. Our education specialist runs an inclusive education programme which includes the Early Childhood Development sector.
Our Assistive Devices Programme benefits children across South Africa. Custom-made assistive devices are provided to improve posture and in support of the great work done by our therapists in making children more comfortable in their own bodies, whilst trying to improve functional use of hands and fingers as well.
The impact of this programme is two-fold: firstly, the lives of the children who have received the assistive devices have been changed and improved, and secondly, the thousands of children at the schools where the programme has been presented and the challenges to raise funds have been accepted have been made aware about disability and have been educated not only about various types of disability but more importantly about the need for inclusion of the disabled into society.
Inclusive Education: We run an ECD inclusion programme in disadvantaged communities as well as support children with disabilities in mainstream schools. We have created a supplement to the Life Orientation curriculum that is being introduced into mainstream primary schools that focuses on creating more accepting school environments. Information is given about various barriers to learning, peer-to-peer solution finding and exercises that promote growing accepting environments.
Social Entrepeneurs Programme :
In April 2009 we launched our Pay-It-Forward Ambassadors Programme. This programme grows a relationship with a group of young people who want to work with The Chaeli Campaign to promote our events in their schools and in their communities, but also have an opportunity to learn about social entrepreneurship and growing their own projects. The backbone of the project will be to:
- promote Chaeli Campaign events (e.g. Art & Poetry Competition, Grand Prix, Junior Chaeli Riders, etc.) at their school and in their community in order to raise a positive awareness of inclusion and diversity re: disability;
- Grow their own events or projects: we will provide guidance through brainstorming and support with logistics;
- Attend a monthly workshop session (2 hours per month) where they receive information / training and are able to brainstorm issues around how entrepreneurship can create positive change in people and communities.
Each young person commits to being a Pay-It-Forward Ambassador for one year – this is essential for each of them to have time to grow in knowledge, confidence and also to grow their own ideas of how they intend being agents of change in their own communities. The programme currently runs in Cape Town, Kimberley and Bloemfontein and we will be rolling it out in other major cities in the near future.
Advocacy & Outreach
The Chaeli Campaign hosts a number of advocacy events during the year to promote both the work being done as well as to educate the community about disability and the concept of inclusive education and inclusive living within the community. The focus of these events is to celebrate diversity and inclusion, promote the concept of universal accessibility and open the minds and hearts of non-disabled people to the contribution people with disabilities have to make to their communities.
Vocation & Rehabilitation The Chaeli Campaign presents a Vocation and Rehabilitation Programme at Chaeli Cottage where the target group for the skills transferral is intellectually and physically disabled young adults. This programme has taken the form of a coffee shop and craft workshops. The aim is to provide disabled adults with an opportunity to learn skills and practise them in a work situation.
Adults with disabilities also attend regular art and craft workshops where socialisation, interaction and team work are encouraged with skill transferral and FUN being the other spin-offs. What we aim to achieve with the programme is:
- Increased self confidence
- Improved communication skills
- The ability to follow instructions
- An increased confidence in their own ability to grow their skills
- Create an inclusive environment that will wow able-bodied patrons – show what can happen when an inclusive environment grows naturally
Some of these young people are also being supported in employment opportunities in commercial business.