The Oasis Association in Claremont is proud that one of its beneficiaries will be competing in the Special Olympics, starting tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.
Jeffrey Julies, 46, from Belhar, is one of several South African athletes with intellectual disabilities representing the country. He has been part of Oasis for 27 years and, according to Oasis spokesperson, is one of 370 intellectually disabled people at the organisation’s two protective workshops.
“Very often people form stereotypes of what people with intellectual disabilities can and can’t do. Jeffrey’s story highlights what is possible for people with intellectual disabilities, if they are given the opportunity to realise their potential,”
said Ms Fransman. Mr Julies who stands at 1.85 metres tall, will be participating in the 100m walk for men, the standing long jump and the 50m walk for men. Mr Julies, pictured, is currently overseas preparing for the competition so was unavailable to comment.
Gail Davids, services manager at the Oasis Association, added that Julies and thousands like him, have the capacity to make meaningful contributions to society but are often not afforded the opportunity to do so. “People with intellectual disabilities are capable, but often societal stereotypes prevent them from doing so,” she said.
Oasis provides employment opportunities which are critical for them. The NPO also goes an extra mile to meet the holistic needs of these individuals through key programmes and projects including weekly education classes, life and work skills programmes, feeding schemes, diversion programmes, occupational units – for the training of basic motor skills, and social work services.
It was through one of these empowerment programmes offered at Oasis Association, that Julies was able to access the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics.
The article initially appeared in the Southern Suburbs Tatler