Empowering those who care for the Disabled | #eBizPayItForward| Xelda Rohrbeck

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he SAB Foundation has selected 17 finalists in its 9th annual Social Innovation Awards 2019 and 3 finalists in its 4th annual Disability Empowerment Awards. The final winners will be announced at an official awards ceremony on Wednesday, 09 October 2019.

Grants will also be awarded to other deserving innovation finalists. The finalists were selected from over 300 entries this year and SAB Foundation Innovation Specialist, Ntandokazi Nodada says that since the programme was initiated 9 years ago the quality of innovations has been on the rise. “We are seeing some incredibly talented South Africans, from all walks of life, produce socially informed and transformative products and services that are truly going to help make a change in the lives of those who need it the most, ” says Nodada. Nodada says that the finalists tackle issues such as environmental sustainability, technology accessibility and disability inclusion.

Other than their potential to create positive societal change, the finalist’s innovations were selected according to whether the independent panel of judges assessments showed they were scalable and could be commercialised as well their potential to create job opportunities. The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards, were established as a means of supporting the growth and development of entrepreneurship in South Africa with a specific focus on servicing the needs of low-income women, the youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas.

“The SAB Foundation hopes to encourage individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in the process assist others with incredible but often simple resources which change the way our lives work,” says Nodada. Since its launch, the SAB Foundation has invested in over 160 social innovations through a financial commitment of more than R67 million.

Xelda Rohrbeck was first introduced to the Showerβath, a combination of a shower and bathtub to enable easy bathing of individuals with profound intellectual and physical disabilities, who are unable to bath themselves and depend on caregivers, in 2018. Lucy Slaviero designed the Showerβath, when she saw how caregivers struggled to bath particularly the elderly, with profound intellectual disabilities and limited mobility.

“The invention eases the stress of a caregiver as it eliminates electro-mechanical hoists that are prone to break down and need constant maintenance and upkeep. As an alternative, the Showerβath reduces the physical strain of having caregivers manually lift our residents, and in addition improves personal hygiene for our residents,” says Xelda.

Xelda aims to improve the lives of disabled children, teenagers, men, and women in both rural and urban areas of the country. Research was conducted and found that there were no existing solutions and research overseas only offered high-tech expensive solutions. Two prototypes have been installed at LITTLE EDEN Society for older residents.

“The Showerβath is a low-cost, maintenance free and lifelong product. It can easily be installed and requires no specialised skills as compared to competitors,” says Xelda.

Xelda employs 265 permanent employees.

“Winning the SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards would mean that this simple, yet innovative, Showerβath could be rolled out throughout South Africa to organisations, care facilities, and hospitals caring for people who are physically unable to bath themselves”, says Xelda.

Xelda Rohrbeck is a finalist in the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards.

Launched in 2016, the SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards forms part of the SAB Foundation’s primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. The Disability Empowerment Awards are aimed at promoting social innovations that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through assistive devices, training, or employment.

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eBizRadio is a live multi- platformed social media service providing an online forum to the business community for holding conversations on the key issues related to specific businesses as well as availing a space for cross-business collaboration in response to key issues affecting the world of business. The place to go if you want to know about business and lifestyle

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