Green Able works to bring previously disadvantaged persons with physical disabilities closer to work and educational opportunities.
According to the Integrated National Disability Strategy White Paper between five and 12% of South Africans have a disability. Despite this large percentage of disabled persons in our population, few services and opportunities exist for people with disabilities to participate equally in society. People with disabilities are excluded from mainstream society and experience difficulty in accessing fundamental rights. There is, furthermore, a strong relationship between disability and poverty. There is also a high level of functional illiteracy amongst disabled adults and is it estimated that 99% of disabled people are excluded from employment in the open labour market. The combination of illiteracy and the limited access to employment opportunities have a negative impact on the likelihood of disabled persons being able to find employment and earn an income. It is also notable that women with disabilities bear the brunt of discrimination and exclusion more acutely than men and tend to have a higher rate of disability.
On the environmental front, the growing population and economy has led to increased volumes of waste being generated. Consequently this has resulted in increased amounts of waste ending up in landfills. In South Africa, this includes 9 million printer cartridges. By diverting and recycling these printer cartridges, there is an opportunity to create employment through the recycling process as well as reduce CO2 emissions entering the environment.
Green Able seeks to change the lives of disabled persons by providing them with income and education opportunities while also actively contributing to environmental conservation. Currently, the organisation is working with beneficiaries from around the Durban area.
Green Office (Green Able’s parent company) provides logistical assistance to Green Able by collecting empty and damaged cartridges. These cartridges are then donated to Green Able. Once at the warehouse, the cartridges are stripped and recycled. Currently most of the processed components are used to make roof tiles for low cost housing. These roof tiles are in high demand by government low cost housing providers. With more equipment and staff, the organisation could be better positioned to meet this demand.
The organisation uses an incubation model to run its programme recruiting previously disadvantaged persons with disabilities to process and recycle damaged printer cartridges. While incubated with the organisation beneficiaries are:
- Integrated into a workplace
- Gain work experience
- Receive life skills and adult and education training (AET)
- Receive learnerships
Through this process beneficiaries increase their employability while simultaneously benefitting the environmental sector. Four beneficiaries have already been promoted to full-time employment at Green Office’s pProduction and collections departments. Typically, beneficiaries are with the organisation for three to five years and exit the programme with at least a matric level qualification.
The organisation’s initiative is divided into social, economic and environment project activities:
- Social (skills upliftment, workplace integration and experience): In collaboration with a skills development training provider, AET is provided to beneficiaries who in turn received nationally recognised certification.
- Economy (employment): Beneficiaries are awarded funded scholarships (learnerships) and are also provided with financial support intended to assist both the beneficiaries and their families. Furthermore Green Able uses an agent model which identifies disabled persons who show an entrepreneurial spirit and encourages them to establish home-based cartridge collection businesses.
- Environment: On a monthly basis 33 000 printer cartridges (eight to ten tons of plastic and recyclable materials) are diverted from landfill sites. The recycled plastic is then used as material for low cost housing.
The organisation works with QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), USE IT and Green Able clients who fund and support the organisation. The organisation is continuously looking for ways to improve their model and reach, through research and learning they have identified e-waste as an ideal market to enter into with regard to recycling. In terms of future expansions Green Able is keen to work at a national level, should sufficient funding be available to expand.
What we like about this organisation
- The organisation works towards ensuring their beneficiaries have a minimum of a matric qualification before assisting them to find employment primarily in their client network. The organisation is assisting disabled beneficiaries using a model that provides them with employment and training opportunities.
What difference can your money make?
- R10 000 will be used to provide suitable worktables and chairs for beneficiaries
- R250 000 will contribute towards a 14-seater minibus to pick up beneficiaries thereby cutting its transport costs
- R750, 000 will be used to purchase a dust extractor for the warehouse. This will improve the health and safety conditions in the warehouse
- Driver (to transport beneficiaries)
- Clinic sister to attend to beneficiaries’ health concerns
- Social worker to assist with beneficiaries social issues
Administrative staff to assist with legislative paperwork