Like so many South Africans, Winston, who worked as a call centre agent for a logistics company in Cape Town, was made redundant during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and has been struggling to find work for the past three years.
“Due to the scarcity of jobs for the visually impaired and the fact that Winston only has a high school diploma, he has been unable to secure a job despite his determination and humble dream to support his family,” says Tania Robbertze (54), a friend of the couple who raised their guide dog as a puppy.
Winston, who loves people and has a passion for history and education, has long dreamed of furthering his studies and becoming South Africa’s first blind tour guide.
“I want to make history. I want to show that it’s not impossible to do what you want to do, despite the obstacles.””I want to become the first blind tour guide in South Africa. I want to make history. I want to show that it’s not impossible to do what you want to do, despite the obstacles. I want to meet new people and learn from people from different countries who come to visit our country. I’m about to learn new things,” says Winston.
To help Winston achieve his dream and gain independence, Tania, who has formed a lasting friendship with Winston and his wife, launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, appealing to the public to help Winston obtain his tour guide certificate.
Thankfully, the appeal reached Enver Duminy, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism, who kindly agreed to cover Winston’s tuition fees for the tour guide course, which will allow Winston to expand his career options.
With funds still needed to cover Winston’s first aid course, a laptop to help him work through the course material, as well as data and transport costs, Tania is keeping the fundraising campaign open to anyone who wants to help Winston get back on his feet.Since the launch of the campaign, over R5 800 has been raised towards Winston’s fundraising target of R20 000 with the support of 15 generous donors.
“Winston is a personable, chatty gentleman who connects well with everyone he meets. A job in the tourism industry will be a perfect fit for him. By supporting our BackaBuddy campaign, you will be giving a wonderful man the chance to rebuild his life and restore his sense of dignity by being able to work independently again,” says Tania.
Tania says there’s a lesson we can all learn from Winston.
“Seeing the world from a blind person’s perspective changes the way we appreciate and see the world around us. Winston can’t wait to break down the barriers surrounding visual impairment and share his unique perspective on the world,” says Tania.