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When disability makes you stronger

4 September 2017

Michael Proctor-Packer

By Sihle Khumalo

“Never let your disability hold you back from achieving your goals”

This is the view of Michael Proctor-Packer, who, on June 12, 1983, went to his part-time job at a Middelburg butchery in Mpumalanga to make some pocket money.

Around 8am, he slipped and his right hand entered a mechanical mincing machine and was crushed up to the wrist. Later that day the hand was amputated.

“I found new ways of doing that required the use of both hands,” says Michael, who is grateful for this family’s support and assistance. This enabled him to do his chores and sport activities such as swimming, ring ball, karate, squash and soccer for the Middelburg Club. This earned him respect from his peers and friends to be viewed and treated as an equal, he says.

Michael was able to complete two years of national service and pursued a career as a furnace operator. While he worked as an operator, Michael completed a diploma in import and export management with UNISA. In 2009, he completed his second diploma in marketing management, also with UNISA.

Now aged 50, Michael is married with two children and is working as a commercial sales manager. He says that he would not change anything because he believes that the hurdle that he had to cross has made him a considerate, strong and goal-orientated person.

According to Statistics SA, Mpumalanga, the province where Michael resides, has 205 280 of persons with disability which is 7% of the province’s population. Out of that 57 373 have had no school experience and only 5 602 have a higher education. Michael says that every day has its own challenges, from getting up in the morning to hitting a nail into wood. He is able to overcome the challenges with hard work, dedication and the love of God that guides him daily.

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