Because public knowledge of disability and specifically MD is limited, attitudes towards people with MD are sometimes based on ignorance and can cause humiliation. For example, this ignorance may lead to the belief that people with MD could do more if they just tried harder, or that they pretend to be unable to do something because they just don’t want to, and that if they were just to exercise more they would become stronger. When people are properly informed about MD, their attitudes and behaviour towards affected people become more reasonable and sensitive; thus, discussing disability increases understanding and tolerance. This helps to minimize the psychological stress that MD sufferers might otherwise experience when interacting with others.
Our role is to raise awareness about services rendered by The Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa and muscular dystrophy as a whole to dispel the lack of knowledge, mythologies and stigma. Awareness promotion is an important aspect of the Foundation.
The month of September is International Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month. This month is a special opportunity to educate the public about muscular dystrophy and issues within the muscular dystrophy community. Raising public awareness of this disease will also continue to facilitate the discovery of treatments and cures, as well as bringing much needed funding for support and services for families affected by muscular dystrophy. In order to celebrate this special month, the National Office launched an awareness programme called “Get into the Green Scene” during September 2018 – green being the colour of the muscular dystrophy awareness ribbon. The objective of the programme is to invite individuals and companies to “go green” (wear a green shirt or hat; green make-up or nail paint; painting their faces green or any other creative idea) for a day.