Tinyiko Gwambe
Limited mobility is the main difficulty social work student Tinyiko Gwambe, who was born with no limbs, has to contend with, but a specialised R350 000 vehicle imported from the UK will help her overcome this obstacle.

The 22-year-old, from a small town in Limpopo, whose motto is “disability is no obstacle to success”, has conquered tough challenges.

From a young age she was determined not to be held back by her disability, and saw every challenge as an opportunity to push herself further and to live her life to the fullest.

“I had to learn early on not to play the blame game and accept myself for being born this way. I had to realise that with being disabled, my obstacles would often be greater than those of able-bodied individuals.

"So I pushed myself to do more. I found gratitude in exceeding people’s expectations of me, and through Scripture found the confidence to chase my dreams,” she said.

She was 15 when her mom died and was then removed from the home of a loving aunt, who had dedicated her life to raising her, and negligent social workers sent her to live with her father, who had taken her mother’s sister as his partner shortly after her mom’s passing. There, her caregivers changed constantly.

After spending two hard years without her aunt, she vowed she would become a voice for voiceless disabled people, and study to become a social worker to provide others with the care and stability she craved while growing up.

“I noticed how disabled individuals in the rural areas were affected by poor education, leaving them to rely on social grants, which barely cover daily expenses, or seek unskilled jobs. I also felt that my needs were overlooked while growing up, and that I got lost in the system, and decided I'd be a part of the solution and empower others, regardless of their disability.”

In 2015 she was reunited with her aunt in Pretoria, and began studying for her social work degree at the University of Pretoria. The straight-A student aims to do a Master’s degree next year.

Gwambe relies on her sister and boyfriend to make it to lectures, but often has to use public transport, which can be unpredictable and problematic. Since April, crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy has been raising funds from the public for the specialised vehicle, which will help her to become more independent and empower her when she is placed in her first job as a social worker.

So far R7309.40 has been raised towards a target of R350 000. To support Gwambe in raising funds, the public can donate here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/raising-money-for-a-special-car