Interview: Suraya Snyders
Living with a rare but serious condition like Cuada Equine Syndrome can be tough, Suraya Snyder shares her story with us.
Suraya Snyders is a Senior Credit Controller and has been working at Vodacom for seven years (and four months)!
Please give us a brief overview of your disability and the challenges it brings to your daily life?
Cuada equine syndrome – an invisible disability – is a rare but serious condition that describes extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. It affects your motor skills and breakage of signals from the brain to the body. You go to the bathroom randomly, can’t walk very far, sit or stand for too long, and when driving, your muscles go into spasm. Most days when I’m driving in peak traffic I drive in the yellow lane with my hazard lights on to avoid accidents. Every day I force my body to react. There is no cure for this disability.
How has Vodacom as a company accommodated your disability?
Vodacom reached out to me through HR and my management team when I requested my working hours to be from 06:30-15:00 to help me avoid the traffic. Also, when I’m having a bad day, they allow me to leave early because they understand that things can get very bad and try to assist as much as possible.
Which technologies have helped you and other people with disabilities, and how?
Vodacom has installed tools to assist people with disabilities, provided wheelchair access, bathrooms designed for the disabled, disabled parking, and much more.
What do you wish able-bodied people did more/less of for people who have a disability – at home, socially, and in the workplace?
My only wish is for able-bodied people to understand that people with disabilities are facing daily challenges and want to be treated fairly and with respect in the workplace and society.
Who are some of your role models among people living with a disability?
My role models are my Vodacom colleagues Karen Smit, Pasche Dreyer and Lavinia Koopman, who are always ready to assist when help is needed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of the world's population has a disability and only 48% of working-age people living with a disability are employed. These stats show why it’s critical that companies become more inclusive and embrace diversity in all its forms. And this is why Vodacom has made it our mission to build an inclusive culture where everyone is respected, can be themselves and strives to be their best.
Click here for more information about the benefits of working at Vodacom or here to read another interview with someone from Vodacom living with a disability.