Annual Businesswoman

Ali, Managing Director of ICan!, has been nominated for the Business Woman of The Year Award in the category of Social Entrepreneurship.

This year marks the 37th year of these annual awards, which are to take place in September 2017 at Sandton Convention Centre. The Businesswoman Award provides a platform for the inspiration and empowerment of women in business through a variety of initiatives and opportunities for personal growth and development. Apart from creating networking opportunities for its members, it makes a strong contribution towards developing the next generation of women as business leaders.

Ali’s nomination recognizes the good work she has done and continues to do, and, the passion she has for people living with disabilities.

We are so proud of Ali for representing women in business, and we will be rooting for her on the big night!



Valentine’s day is no longer a celebration of  romantic love exclusively, as it now embrace’s love of all kinds: Friendship, family and everything in between. Our learners celebrated valentines by sharing with us their talents like, singing, poetry, modelling and dancing.

On that day we discovered that indeed I Can! has  TALENT!!!!


On the 14 February 2014 Business Practice learners in Parc Du Cap had a valentine’s project to  research  the meaning of Valentine’s Day and where it came from. The following are some of the interviews  from the learners about its history:

“My understanding of Valentine’s Day is that it’s not only about loving couples, it’s about sharing love with all the special people in our lives. February was chosen as the love month because this is the month Saint Valentino died on the 14th of February. Red and white are the colours that are associated with Valentines because blood was shed when he died. That is why we have the red. wWite is for peace as he was at peace about what he did. He married young couples even though he knew it was against the law and when he died he was finally at peace about everything. The heart symbol during this month of February symbolizes love. To me Valentines means the day where you show how much you love and appreciate people around you and also to show appreciation by wearing red and white.”

By Miliswa Zwelinjani

c.   Valentino’s Story

Research done by Sandy’s Class

Let me introduce myself, my name is Valentine. I lived in Rome during the third century. Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. I didn’t like Emperor Claudius and I wasn’t the only one. A lot of people shared my feeling. Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join; many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. As you might have guessed not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided not to allow any marriages. Young people thought this new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous! I certainly wasn’t going to support that law.

Did I mention I was a priest? One of my favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after emperor Claudius passed his law. I kept on performing marriage ceremonies secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelight room with only the bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.

One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. I was thrown in jail and told that my punishment was death. I tried to stay cheerful and also do you know what? Wonderful things happened, many people came to visit me in jail. They threw notes and flowers through the window. They wanted me to know that they too believe in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my spirit up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. I signed it, “Love it from your Valentine”.

I believe that note started a custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s day. It was written on the day I died 14 February.

d.     LETTER OF APPRECIATION by A.S Nogaga (Department of Education)

On behalf of the Department of Education Port Elizabeth District, I hereby wish to convey words of gratitude and appreciation for the good work that you are doing for our schools. You are providing an enabling environment for our young people in general and the disabled youth in particular to obtain skills and knowledge for their development. You are also exposing them to workplace situation as well as helping the schools to execute their administrative duties.

Your institution is contributing positively to the development of previously disadvantaged communities. The school communities appreciate the wonderful contribution that you are making.

We are looking forward to a long and lasting relationship with you.

 e.     BELLVILLE:

Academy Life in February has been a buzz with new happenings: In addition to being the month of love, we have welcomed many new learners as well as staff members. 20 new learners sponsored by I & J have joined the academy as well as learners from Entrade, Nalco, ARB and Quest. They are a high-spirited bunch and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.

We have also welcomed three young dynamic facilitators to our team in February; Ntombodidi, Nosandi and Tumi  have undertaken to bring fresh new ideas and enthusiasm to our Academy.

The staff and learners were caught up in the spirit of love and dressed for the occasion in their black, red and white. We had a competition for best dressed, valentine cupcakes on sale and we ralled a beautiful luxury hamper, which one of our Domestic Services Learners, Percival Borrins won.

Instead of just focusing on love and romance we urged learners to seriously consider the responsibilities the youth have that goes hand in hand with being inlove. Topics discussed included mutual respect, self-respect and safe sex.

A fun and educational day was enjoyed by all.


To all of our clients and partners in Disability.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2014!

Over the holiday season I have had time to reflect on how much I Can! has achieved over the past 3 years.

When we opened our first academy in January 2011 we did so with 30 learners and 5 volunteer staff members.  We have gone into 2014 with 9 academies, 103 full-time staff members and will be training more than 600 persons with disabilities. In 2014 we will be opening two new academies in Pietermaritzburg and East London.

None of this would be possible without each and every staff member’s unwavering commitment to the improvement of persons with disabilities.  Whilst our responsibilities can be very challenging at times the rewards are immeasurable.

Our focus for 2014 will be not only to continue to strive to achieve excellence in our academies, but to ensure that, our learners are not only trained but transitioned into meaningful employment on completion of the learnership.  To this end, we are launching community projects in each region where through our clients ED contributions to our sister company, Khulisani, we are able to place our learners with organisations that desperately need additional workers but cannot necessarily afford the labour.

I Can! Farm will also be launched in April 2014.  I Can! has recently purchased a 34 hectare farm in the Natal Midlands where we expect to be able to provide persons with disabilities agricultural skills.  The produce from the farm will be used to provide sustenance to the community.

I would like to thank all of our partners for their on-going support.  Together we can make a difference.

Should you wish to find out more about how you can provide employment for our learners, please contact me on 084 6040821.



In December the I Can! Disability Academy in Musgrave moved from Silverton Road to Durban North. The new Academy is big enough to accommodate two more venues, which by next month will be full! A big thank you to PMI for all the desks and chairs for the venues.

The learners have responded well to the move and are all enjoying their new classrooms. They also have a comfortable recreational area outside where they can enjoy their tea and lunch breaks. The new space also has kitchen facilities and a practical room which enables the learners to prepare food and improve their cooking skills. We are proud to be able to give our learners  the opportunity to participate  and thank all our clients for their continued support. This year we want to assist as many of our learners that we can with finding suitable employment opportunities so they can enter the workforce upon completion of their studies.

A very big thank you to Adcorp for their generous sponsorship of a second vehicle to I Can! The Durban Academies are going to benefit greatly from the use of the Mercedes Vito for transport.


For the PE staff, 2013 ended with a beautiful summer’s day on the beach for our yearend function. The staff brought along their little ones to enjoy the day with the I Can! team. Needless to say when we returned to work in January, we were refreshed and ready to hit the road running.

To add to the optimism, January marks the month that we passed eight of our moderations with flying colours, and we will be bidding farewell to the very first group of I Can! learners in PE on 30 January.

This month we are looking forward to welcoming 20 new female learners on a Hygiene and Cleaning learnership, sponsored by Grindrod Limited. Grindrod’s business is moving cargo by rail, sea and air, as well as providing integrated logistical and specialised services en route. Although our learners are obviously not cargo, we are confident that with this sponsorship, Grinrod will also be moving the lives of these 20 females to new heights!


Learners from our Kempton Park and Jet Park academies attended their graduation ceremony on 30  November 2013.

Our keynote speaker was Nonhlanhla Mabusa (previously interviewed in our newsletter She gave a motivational talk on living with disability from a personal perspective.

Graduates were then entertained by current learners in the form of a short play about the challenges they face as young people living with disability. The play touched a lot of people in the audience and the actors earned a standing ovation.

Finally we were entertained by some of our deaf learners who signed the song used in a recent song competition.

Our take-home message:

  • I’m beautiful in my way
  • ‘Cause God makes no mistakes
  • I’m on the right track baby
  • I was born this way
  • Don’t hide yourself in regret
  • Just love yourself and you’re set
  • I’m on the right track baby
  • I was born this way


On the 24 January 2014 Cape town-Bellville Domestic Services learners celebrated their cultural diversity by dressing in traditional attire, thereby showcasing their personal heritage. All learners welcomed seeing the various styles and learning more about the different African cultures. The planning of a cultural feast and different attire was a project that these learners used to research for their formative assessment of the Life skills module.



Nhlanhla Mabuza,mother of  Joshua, 7, and Caleb, 5, lives with them in Benoni. On  6 September 2009 Nhlanhla was involved in a motor vehicle accident which left her paralyzed. After regaining consciousness in hospital, she was told that she would no longer be able to use her legs or walk again and that she would have to use a  wheelchair.  She did not know what to do, how to do it or where to start.

Accepting that she has to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life and rely on others for assistance was hard for her. Prior to the accident Nhlanhla was an independent woman who enjoyed doing things for herself; after the accident she felt as if the world had come to an end for her and that nothing would ever be possible for her to do or to achieve.

Nhlanhla says that waking up every morning and looking at the faces of her two boys really motivated her. Her family and the support that she received from her church encouraged her to start again and view life in a different way.

She slowly started doing the things she used to do before the accident and taking each day as it came. Nhlanhla started to submit applications for employment. On the 06 September 2013, Nhlanhla was offered an employment opportunity to be part of the I Can! Academy (Centurion-Campus) team; she is employed as the campus Administrator. She says working at the I Can! Academy is a great opportunity and experience for her due to the fact that the learners themselves will find more motivation when they come to school every morning and see her on a wheelchair running the administration of the campus. She is also a born again Christian who worships at ‘’Church of the Way’’ in Brentwood Park. She also did a course on children ministry which she found helpful on handling or dealing with learners’ demands at the campus.


Don’t limit possibilities in life. Possibilities depend on our mindset, willingness to believe that everything is possible; once we accept that there is no limit to what is possible we are free to explore this wonderful world we live in and to achieve our greatest dreams and goals.

Prepared by: Makhosonke Birthwell Ngomane


The school year is nearing an end and this often means that there is a growing number of learners uncertain of what the future holds for them. I Can! hosts annual breakfast information sessions nationwide during this time of the year to inform schools and organisations of the opportunities on offer for learners with disabilities.

On 15 November, we invited stakeholders from 30 different schools and organisations to our PE academy. The presentation included information regarding the learnerships on offer and our application process. We discussed the rules and regulations of the academies and we had two of our learners share their experience with I Can!

This was a first of its kind for PE and was extremely successful with more than 40 delegates attending. We are encouraged by the support we receive from the community and our sponsors and clients. This endeavour has encouraged and motivated us to continue to deliver an excellent service

For more information on what I Can! has to offer, please contact your regional office for assistance.


From the time Maryam Kriel started at I Can!  she was amazed at the commitment and dedication of the facilitators and operations staff alike.

As the Operations Manager for the Western Cape, she faced challenging couple of months getting to grips with  the clients and the processes for the region. However, she welcomed the challenges which have have allowed for growth in the region. As a team,  the Western Cape Campus is committed to ensuring that the disabled learners will have great opportunities during their learning period. It goes without saying, that the learners have grown and have built good relationships with their peers and facilitators.

I Can! encourages healthy  team relationships.  This ensures that the learners are socially equipped and are able to be integrated into the workplace.  As we reflect on a year drawing to a close we remember how often we have had to mediate situations which arose with our learners and this has reminded us on the importance of role-models and social responsibility. Many of our learners do not have this guidance at home. In light of this we have engaged with UCT students to assist us with talks and counseling sessions for those who may need it.


The “16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children” is an international campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day. During this time, the South African Government runs a “16 Days of Activism Campaign” to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse.  Our academies have made white ribbons for everyone in support of this initiative.



I Can! Eastern Cape is celebrating its first anniversary.  One year ago I Can! began recruiting learners for our first class in Port Elizabeth. We opened with one employee and 11 learners under the sponsorship of DHL couriers. Currently, we have  54 signed learners,  41 on our waiting list and nine full-time staff members.

I Can! has been welcomed by the disability community and  stakeholders alike; and we have grown stronger with their support.  In 2014 we will open our East London academy. More than 30 current learners will graduate from this first class.  We are grateful for the warm welcome we received and hope to double the size of our program next year at this time.


I Can! recently sponsored a learnership for Natasha Meyer, who started Business Practice classes in Durban in September, 2013. She is doing very well with all her classwork. Natasha’s great passion is horse riding…here’s her story:

“I was born with cerebral palsy. I have to do exercises every week to keep my legs strong and to relieve pain.

Knowing that it would never have been easy to do the sport at the school I had to find another sport suitable for me. I found horse riding in 2008 and after the first ride I knew that it was what I wanted to do! It made me feel like I belonged there.

I started to notice a change in the way I move around in the first six months of riding, being able to walk around by myself without holding someone’s hand was the greatest change.

I have been chosen for the KZN Para Dressage Team in 2012.

I compete in shows on a regular basis with great success. My dream is to go to the Olympics.

With determination and an absolute passion for horses and the sport, I know I CAN”

I Can! wishes Natasha all the best with her riding and hope to see her achieve her dreams one day!


I  Can! has launched a new promotional project with the  learners, making I Can! beaded bracelets, one for themselves and another for new and prospective learners .

Additionally, the Cape Town learners made 1,000 bracelets to hand out at the  recent Disability Expo and Conference held in Johannesburg. Besides giving them the opportunity to exhibit their creativity, the project also improves  concentration, eye-hand coordination and dexterity, skills that they may be able to use to start their own jewelry business one day.

A special thank you to Jo-Anne Lindoor one of the Cape Town facilitator, who coordinated the making of the bracelets. Her good organizational skills and dedication have inspired her learners to stay after hours in order to meet their target. The learners had fun with this project and delivered a beautiful end product.


The Johannesburg learners in the I Can! Jet Park Academy have set up their own new business venture!  As part of their Business Practices class, the learners had to come up with a viable business idea to practice the skills that they learned.

A car wash has been one of the ideas and after completing their market research the venture was begun. All the learners participated and are excited about the new venture. The learners did a great job washing almost all staff members’ cars.

It is of great importance to I Can! that all the learners practice what they learn, to see that with the knowledge that they are gaining in the classroom they can further develop their skill sets. This also helps the learners to realize that their disability does not have to limit them; if they put their mind to it they can achieve it.


I Can! was delighted when Omnia invited its sponsored learners to participate in the company annual Health and Wellness Day, celebrated 10 October 2013.  The event with its 200 employees featured goodie bags and loads of freebies. Preparations for the learners included designing promotional posters, baking cupcakes, making beaded bracelets and set up of two vending carts with smoothie stations.

Omnia arranged for a bus to transport all 40 learners to and from the Kempton Park academy to the client site, along with all the goods for the big day. Everyone was given a T-shirt with the Omnia and I Can! logos and the slogan ‘Together We Can!”.  Small learner groups made strawberry and banana smoothies, served coffee and tea,  and distributed  bracelets, popcorn and cupcakes to promote the ‘wellness’ of the Omnia employees.

Later, the ‘fitness’ of staff and learners was tested in a tough workout session. Only few powered through.  The learners then displayed their own version of ‘health and wellness’, in the form of a rhythmic dance.

A video and photos can be seen on the I Can! facebook page.

On behalf of all of the I Can! staff and Omnia learners, we would like to extend our thanks for a thoroughly enjoyed Omnia Wellness Day.


On September 6, I Can! participated in National Casual Day. Also known as Loslit Dag the day, held annually, tries to build greater awareness of people with disabilities. The celebration also gives everyone a chance to dress differently according to a common theme.

The funds generated (R10 per person) are given various charities who do amazing work to empower people with disabilities in South Africa. This year’s theme was ‘Go Big’ and the learners and staff all demonstrated their spirit by showing up to work wearing big hair, enormous glasses or unusually large ties. It takes being different to make a difference and on this occasion, reminding us to be mindful of those with disabilities.

On September 7, the I Can! Cape Town team and their children were treated to a family day at Bugz Play Park. The event was arranged to build team spirit and was a huge success. The staff and children were treated to breakfast and an opportunity to talk and get to know each other on a more personal level. The kids had fun enjoying all the activities and rides in Bugz Play Park.

Everybody also had lunch and received gifts such as educational books donated by Leserskring.

Congratulations to I Can! for the nice things you do for your staff to make everyone feel part of our amazing family!

On Heritage Day, September 14, Jet Park celebrated different African cultures and showcased all our unique different food types. This year for the first time, our clients were invited to the celebration which started with breakfast, included a presentation, and then lunch. The menu consisted of ginger beer, mqomboti, nting pap, spinach, chicken feet, phutu pap and amasi, boebotie, and dumplings and of course there was braai vors! The learners played traditional games focused their respective attires.

Our deaf learners presented the “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SIGN?” South African Sign Language Song Translation Competition  as part of Deaf Awareness Month. The kids translated the song HERO by Mariah Carey.

The video can be seen at

Congratulations to Moses: Moses Malatji (middle in image above), a Business Practice learner based at  Kempton Park Academy, had been drafted for the senior national team that will participate in the Paralympics in Rio Brazil. He has already earned a number of athletic achievements:

Junior level 1 (swimming)

Two trophies at young starts completion in Cape town (2006)

2008 he participated in Hollard, Spain

2009 he was awarded Ekurhuleni  sports man of the year

2009 he received a best achievement award

2013 he qualified for the 2016 Paralympics