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Most of the visitors to this blog are friends and family. Many who are not friends or family should have been reading this blog for long enough to know that I am a friendly, good natured and outgoing person. For the newcomers to this blog, I usually have loads of patience and hardly anything ruffles my feathers. But when something ticks me off, watch out. I can get rather passionate…

I am in a wheelchair, with brittle bones. I have moved to a Quad House, where I am able to live independently.

As you know, we are having the fete tomorrow. Tons of donations have poured in, and now it’s time to sell it all and raise money for Quad House. To buy things, one needs money. If you do not have cash in your purse, you need to find an ATM to withdraw more. The machine that I normally draw from was out of order. So I went to the next available machine.

The fact that it was not the bank that I have my account with, was beside the point. My problem was that it was completely inaccessible for a person in a wheelchair. My apologies for photographing an ABSA machine in particular, but all the banks are at fault – ABSA, Nedbank, FNB and Standard Bank.

Feel free to click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.

As you can see, there is a screen erected around the machine, for the privacy of the person drawing cash. It may not be completely clear, but the entrance to the ATM is way too narrow for someone in a wheelchair. And even if they were to fit past the screen, they had a step to contend with as well.

A third issue with most ATM’s is the height of the screen and keypad. If you are in a wheelchair and you are not able to reach the keypad, like me, who is a naturally short person, and confined to a wheelchair on top of that … then you need to make sure you have an able-bodied person with you, who you trust, to enter your PIN and draw cash. In this day and age, you cannot tap Joe Soap walking past on the shoulder and say, “Please help.”

This is the new South Africa. We are supposed to be opening our arms and embracing our brothers and sisters, facing adversity together and building a better world for all. To the Big Four, catch a wake up, please and start catering for the physically challenged.

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