A while back I met Christiano. Christiano is disabled. He walks with crutches as he has no use of his lower legs. I met him while attending a phys.ed lesson at one of the schools which implements our physical education programmes. He only came to class half way through the lesson and went to sit down on some cement steps. I noticed him and went over. He looked at me, quite puzzled, when I quietly sat down next to him. I said hi. He said hi, still puzzled. Being me, my next question to him was… “so what’s wrong with your legs?”… “I was born like this” he replied… “oh… that sucks. At least now you have 4 legs…” I got a smile… I could see he was anything but shy, confused at the attention, but not shy. There was a bit of a silence. Then he looked at me, “… do you have one Rand for me? “ Of all the questions he could ask me, he asked me for one Rand. I was totally thrown and responded jokingly with, “how about I give you four Rand, one for each leg?” he smiled and said “no, I only want one Rand”. After a short silence he asked me why the kids were jumping over the hurdles. I told him that it makes them fit and strong, and asked him why he doesn’t jump over the hurdles. He laughed and lifted up his crutches. So I challenged him to do it… His eyes lit up and the smile became a determined grin. As I lowered the bar to ground level the next class had arrived and was sitting on the cement steps, watching this unfold. He took off and charged towards the hurdle, planted the crutches and sailed over the crossbar to a roaring applause from the crowd. I raised the bar 4 times, higher than it was for the other kids, and he cleared it every time and got a standing applause with the last attempt. He had the biggest smile you could imagine… I told him to go join the rest of the class and in a flash he was there jumping and jiving with them. Christiano showed me that sometimes all it takes is to raise the bar to realize what we are capable of and that we are worth more than just one Rand. That the only limits we have are those that we place on ourselves. That having a disability is not necessarily disabling, but rather an opportunity to find a different way to do things. That sometimes all we need to do is to show some interest, and be the change in someone’s life, by helping them raise the bar…


Written by Mario Penwarden (Executive Head of Kinetix)

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