At this year’s SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, Shona MacDonald, founder of Shonaquip in South Africa, was announced as the winner of the inaugural Disability Empowerment Award at an official awards ceremony on 27 October 2016. The award was established in recognition of the increase in the number of innovations providing solutions for people with disabilities. As a means of recognizing the critical work carried out in this under-served sector, the SAB Foundation established the Disability Empowerment Awards, which carries an additional total prize money of R1.5-million. In judging this award, the innovation’s business potential, innovation, life change potential and scalability was reviewed.
Shonaquip promotes and supports the right and equal participation of people with disabilities in their families, communities and broader society. The company has has provided over 70 000 children with quality, adjustable, modular children’s posture support wheelchairs and posture management systems appropriate for resource poor settings. Shonaquip is Africa’s leading wheelchair services provider and continues to strive to influence this sector in its shift from charity and pity to one of medical responsibility, innovation and social inclusion. Shonaquip does this by providing wheelchair users, their caregivers, community health care workers, rehabilitation, other professional service providers, businesses and government departments with access to professional and appropriate wheelchair support.
Commenting on the award win, Shona MacDonald said: “It has certainly been an exciting year. We have added two new entities to the Shonaquip Social Enterprise; the Champions of Change Trust which is a lobbying platform giving parents and caregivers an opportunity to raise their collective voice and; the Empowerment Through Enterprise Trust a 30C Trust which we will be using to upskill, train and mentor people with disabilities, their families or friends as technicians in the repair of wheelchairs, assistive devices and other related hospital equipment and upskill caregivers and community care workers in disability related care and micro enterprise. With the support of a most generous social impact investor and SED funding we have managed to expand our clinical support services and reach into two more countries, won two great awards for product innovation and significantly increased outreach and social our impact.”