Durban — Our Unsung Hero for this week believes everyone should get an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams, regardless of their physical condition.
Julia van Zyl, 33, from Scottburgh, is the founding director of a Durban-based non-profit organisation (NPO) called Made for More.
The organisation’s aim is to equip and empower people with disabilities.
Made for More services people from the areas of Amahlongwa, Reservoir Hills, Glenwood, Umzinto, Durban, Malukazi, Wentworth, Sherwood and the latest additions – Scottburgh, Umlazi and Ballito.
Programmes offered include Adaptive Surfing, Boccia – a paralympic sport, Bible studies and mentorship, exercise therapy, adaptive soccer, leadership camps, counselling and a farming initiative.
According to Van Zyl, the body was founded and built on relationships.
While working at a school for the physically disabled in Durban, she identified the need to invest in more than just education and sport.
As her relationship with the children grew, she developed a wish to let them know of their capabilities. After observing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual transformation brought about by sport in students, Van Zyl was inspired to widen her reach.
“Made for More uses sport as a vehicle to bring hope, build relationships, and instil morals and values while equipping and giving athletes the opportunity to pursue their sporting careers provincially and on a national level.
“When coaching, we do not just focus on a physical, one-dimensional level but we seek to go deeper and to invest in the heart of the athlete. We desire our brothers and sisters to break free from society’s conformities and stigmas about who they are and what they can do and to discover that they are ‘Made for More’,” said Van Zyl.
The organisation has four other members – Anele Zama, the general manager; Adele Hugo, the finance and administration manager; Owami Zama, the sports coordinator; and David Jennings, the coach.
They are funded through donations from individuals, small businesses and other non-profit organisations.
Van Zyl said some of the challenges encountered within the organisation included the lack of accessibility, finances, transport, employment for people with disabilities and stigma.
“I would love the organisation to be fully run by people with disabilities who have gone through our programmes, going wider and deeper into rural communities within KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa with the hope of serving, sharing our resources, and partnering with others in Africa at large.”