Alma School in Pretoria raises most funds for Casual Day in Gauteng


Casual Day ambassadors Terence Bridgett and Helgard Muller congratulate Andria Oosthuizen from Alma School on the school’s performance. On the right is Casual Day NGO Liaison Officer Zaza Khazemula and Casual Day Project Leader Celeste Vinassa.

Pretoria’s Alma School in Eloffsdal has once again walked away with top honours as the NGO that raised the most funds in Gauteng for the Casual Day campaign. Alma School provides specialised education, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to 230 severely intellectually and physically disabled learners. The following organisations in Pretoria also performed well, raising between R50 000 and R100 000 each: Pretoria School – Pretoria Central, Retina SA, North Gauteng – Pretoria, New Hope School – Pretoria, Prinshof School – Pretoria, and Via Nova School – East Lynne, Pretoria.

A signficant R23.5 million was raised nationally last year by Casual Day, up from R22.2 million in 2012. Casual Day celebrates its 20th anniversary year in 2014 and will be pulling out all the stops with its Bring out the Bling theme, which was recently announced at the project’s annual awards ceremony.

Sponsored by The Edcon Group, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), which this year celebrates 75 years of service to the community of persons with disabilities. Over the past 19 years, Casual Day has helped the NCPPDSA to fulfill its mandate of creating a barrier-free, fully accessible and inclusive society for all, raising almost R195 million.

The highlight of the awards was a rousing talk by wheelchair tennis superstar Lucas Sithole, who lost both his legs and most of his right arm when he fell under a train aged 12, only to become the first South African to win a title at the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. He spoke from the heart on his triumph over adversity saying, “If you can wake up in the morning with dreams you can either get up and go for your dreams or carry on sleeping.”

Long-time Casual Day ambassador and award-winning star of stage and screen, Terence Bridgett, was the Master of Ceremonies. He said had been involved with Casual Day for 14 years and that “Casual Day is not just a commitment for a year or two; you do not join Casual Day for a season, you join Casual Day for a lifetime.” Attendees were delighted by his performance of a song to the soundtrack of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ which rounded off the events. He wrote his own lyrics and called the song ‘Casual Day Is Forever’.

Casual Day Project Team Chairman and Executive Committee member of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa Mac Mia gave some background history of the project, explaining that, “Casual Day was not built by one individual, it is a collective effort of which we can all be proud. Casual Day was built, one sticker at a time, by everyone who participated over the last 19 years.”

He continued, “2013 saw many positive changes – and we can already see and feel the effects. Very importantly, we have ensured that the project remains in good hands and continues to serve its stakeholders in a sustainable and transparent way. The changes we have implemented are the first of a series of transformational ideas to create efficiencies and to better communicate with you, our most valuable partners.

“The competition in this space has become crowded with social agencies and fundraisers, each with a strong purpose and all chasing the same pots of gold. If we are to remain relevant and successful we need to strengthen the Casual Day brand and we need to target our audience as a trustworthy, transparent, accountable and focused campaign.”

Also on the podium was Helgard Muller, Casual Day ambassador who had his foot amputated after an agricultural accident in the US. The road to recovery was a long and painful process for him. He saw all the things he loved doing – being active, enjoying the outdoors and travelling – disappearing from his life. But then he got a bike which changed everything for him. He is far more active and involved in sport than before his accident. And now he is inspiring others. He undertook a 6000 km cycle tour around the borders of South Africa to raise awareness for Casual Day. He became the first person with a disability to cycle around South Africa when he completed the Casual Day Ride for Hope.

Principal financial sponsor Edcon, was represented by Mercia Maserumule, the Edcon Group CSI Manager, Transformation and Corporate Affairs. She said that “Edcon understands that full inclusion and integration is important and that able-bodied people need education on issues of disability – so that they have information and are sensitised. The Casual Day project is one of the ways that Edcon can support the mandate of the NCPPDSA, which is to serve the needs of persons with disabilities. We want our staff and customers to be included in this education.”

The enthusiastic gathering consisted of members from the project beneficiaries and participants, including representatives of the NCPPDSA, SA National Council for the Blind, SA Federation for Mental Health and Deaf Federation of SA. The new crop of beneficiaries were also present, including representatives from Autism South Africa, Down Syndrome South Africa, The National Association for Persons with Cerebral Palsy, the South African National Deaf Association, the National Institute for the Deaf, Alzheimer’s South Africa, the South African Disability Alliance and QuadPara Association of South Africa.

For more information on how to participate in Casual Day go to

March 2014
For more information, photographs and publicity material call Andrea Vinassa / Media co-ordinator for Casual Day
Cell: 079 089 9835 | Landline Cape Town: 021 790 6698
| Landline Edenvale: 011 609 7006 | Email address:

About the Author

Able online

Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 7 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

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