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In January 2023, Smergos joined our "Accessible Cities South Africa" platform to help promote accessibility and inclusivity of persons with disabilities in South Africa by not only providing specially designed products and disability inclusion services but also creating awareness for the needs of companies to integrate people with disabilities in a measurable, sustainable, and empowering way.
DiSA would like to congratulate and thank Smergos for joining our "Accessible Cities South Africa" platform and for becoming an "Access Warrior" to assist us to create this much needed awareness.
Smergos was started in 2015 by Nicole Vergos and Nick Smit when they identified a need to manufacture a variety of Wheelchair Bags specifically designed for people who are physically challenged. In 2017, Smergos became one of the first companies to join DiSA and became an active member, by not only assisting us with various queries that come via our website, but also by supporting us financially through the membership that they purchased.
Over the years Smergos not only expanded their product range, but in 2019 started their consulting work and became disability inclusion specialists who are inspiring motion towards a more inclusive, accessible and empathetic world. Smergos offers a tailored solution for companies to integrate people with disabilities in a measurable, sustainable, and empowering way.
By Joining our Accessible Cities platform in 2023, Smergos has also become an "Access Warrior" helping us to create awareness for the needs of persons with disabilities through the services and products that they supply.
Smergos & DiSA Partnership
Disability info South Africa (DiSA) was started in 2015 by Alan Downey when he realised that there was still an urgent need for a free information service to assist and support persons with disabilities and their families. Through the support over the years from companies, organisations and clubs such as the Smergos, we have been able to create a link between persons with disabilities and the companies, clubs and organizations that are available to assist them.
More recently, DiSA has identified a need to become more than an Information and Support Service and now also provides platforms to help Identify, Address and Remove barriers to an inclusive, accessible South Africa.
DiSA ultimately provides a One-Stop solution that specialises in Access for persons with disabilities, this includes Easy Access to information and Access to the environment. Through the services that DiSA provide, we strive to create equality for all persons with disabilities in Southern Africa. By creating a link with other reputable like minded companies, clubs and organizations, we aim to create a better accessible future for all.
With this in mind, we have approached various essential service providers such as Smergos to join us and other Access Warriors in this journey to "Light a way to an Inclusive Society!"
Smergos are disability inclusion specialists who are inspiring motion towards a more inclusive, accessible and empathetic world. Smergos offers a tailored solution for companies to integrate people with disabilities in a measurable, sustainable, and empowering way.
The following areas are services that they supply and integral milestones along their road map that can be easily implemented in any organisation:
- Wheelchair Bags and Accessories
- Awareness and inclusion training
- Physical accessibility audit
- Online accessibility audits
- Mentoring for interns / employees with disabilities
- Coaching for managers
- Research and development strategies
- Inspirational and motivational talks
- Bespoke toolkits
Wheelchair Bags and Accessories
Smergos manufacture a wide variety of Wheelchair Bags and Accessories specifically designed for people who are physically challenged including training accessories and other support products for wheelchair athletes and teams. Smergos originally designed products for people who use wheelchairs and started with 3 types of wheelchair Bags, but have since expanded their wheelchair product range to include not just bags but many other exciting accessories to fulfill the needs of people with other disabilities, as well as products for everybody that serve a good cause. For every item purchased in Smergos Life, we donate a bag to a person with a disability in need.
The range of Smergos Wheelchair Bags fit neatly onto any wheelchair, giving the customer a safe and easily-accessible way of carrying their belongings. Their wheelchair bags are also designed so that able-bodied people can carry them just as easily. Smergos was the first South African company to manufacture these types of bags and is co-owned by Nick Smit and Nicole Vergos who both have first-hand experience of living with a disability, so have a sound understanding of what people with special needs require and the best way to fulfill their requirements.
Smergos offers immersive training that will shift mindsets and break down barriers between employees with and without disabilities.
Physical accessibility audits
Smergos evaluates offices, stores or any other environment and make recommendations on adaptations. Their recommendations are categorised into 3 prioritisations:
The accessibility audit is supported by confidential interviews with employees, stakeholders and / or customers to offer a holistic view on how the existing environment is experienced and ways that it can be improved to accommodate everyone.
Online accessibility audits
Cutting-edge technology that bridges the gap between digital inclusion and business growth by improving an organisation’s online accessibility. Smergos assesses the accessibility of your website and intranet. They provide a detailed report that outlines issues identified, the disability types affected and how they can be resolved.
Smergos’ mentoring program offers support and guidance to interns / employees with disabilities, many of whom have limited experience in the workplace. Guidance is provided on goal setting that has achievable outcomes using the A.I.M (Activate, Impact and Move) method. Their intention is to develop individuals on a personal level as well as create team cohesiveness.
Coaching for managers
Smergos offers in-depth support and tools for managers on how to successfully integrate interns / employees with disabilities and lead with diversity in mind.
Research is at the heart of Smergos’ program as it allows them measure impact along the journey. Insights into employees’ experiences and perceptions will identify what is working, areas of improvement and recommended next steps to optimise impact.
Inspirational and motivational talks
Inspirational and motivational talks that educate and elevate your team.
These toolkits are essential for facilitating the integration of interns / employees with disabilities. Smergos’ toolkits include humanising the disclosure process, implementing reasonable accommodations and guidance on how to interview persons with disabilities.
Smergos’ practical and impactful program aligns with the following UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals:
- Reduced inequalities.
- Decent work and economic growth.
- No poverty.
If you require any further information or are interested in any of the products or Services, please feel free to contact Smergos at their offices at: 115 Hornbill Road, Douglasdale, Johannesburg, 2021, or visit their web site at: www.smergos.com or Contact them at:firstname.lastname@example.org , Nick Smit:email@example.com | Tel: +27 74 188 8677 or Nicole Vergos:firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +27 83 441 0814.
Current and Future Plans
Only through inclusive environments can most persons with disabilities take part equally in society. "An impairment is any temporary or permanent loss or abnormality of a body structure or function, whether physical or psychological"
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the "White Paper on the rights for persons with disabilities", "Disability is imposed by society when a person with a physical, psychosocial, intellectual, neurological and/or sensory impairment is denied access to full participation in all aspects of life, and when society fails to uphold the rights and specific needs of individuals with impairments."
With this in mind, we at DiSA aim to create awareness for the creation of inclusive environments through partnerships with Access Warriors such as Smergos, we will promote their services that they supply through our Accessible Cities Platform, various YouTube Videos, interviews and webinars, whereby we highlight the various benefits of: Awareness and inclusion training, accessibility audits, as well as Mentoring for interns / employees with disabilities, Coaching for managers, Research and development strategies, Inspirational and motivational talks and Bespoke toolkits.
Accessible environments are so much more than just a ramp, only through the services that companies and organizations such as Smergos provide, can we truly create environments free of barriers. No company, organisation or person is an island, we all need to work together to promote real change for this to happen - This is our goal as Access Warriors!
If you, your Company, Organisation, School or Sports Club require any assistance with regards to any of the services listed above, or would like to support DiSA and the other Access Warriors in their journey to "Lighting the way to an Inclusive Society", please contact Alan Downey on Email: info@DiSA.org.za, Cell: 084 504 9176 or via the Contact Form included on our Contact Us page.