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There’s just no stopping Alysha

When CCS Disability Action came into Alysha’s life, she was pretty much housebound, unable to deal with the uncertainties and social demands of the outside world. In fact, due to a number of impairments, when she was first referred to the South Canterbury branch, Alysha struggled to even leave her bedroom. “I was really struggling socially. I didn’t have any social interaction apart from my own family. I also found it difficult to break out of strict routines around how my day would go. It was very lonely and I found it very hard to change the pattern, even though I really wanted to,” she explains.

CCS Disability Action Service Coordinator Gerry Pienaar met Alysha at this time and found a warm, wonderful person trapped behind her own front door due to a number of debilitating conditions. Gerry also found that Alysha had a very special passion for art.

Alysha finds the outside world, and the human interactions that come with it, confusing and overwhelming so Gerry thought perhaps her gift for art might provide the stepping-stones needed to support her to enter her community and create the connections and life outside of her house that she wanted. The pair began by focusing on Alysha’s love of painting, drawing and sculpture and started looking for local opportunities for her to pursue her passions.

“Initially my role was to try and get Alysha out of her home – out of her comfort zone – and to reconnect her with the community around her. She is very gifted and has a talent for art, so we were able to use this to help motivate her to break through some of the barriers that were standing in her way,” explains Gerry.

Together they found some locally run art classes and, despite her fears, Alysha began to attend. The creative side came easily, but everything else was very hard.

However, Alysha soon discovered that the joy she found creating art was well worth the challenge of getting there.

This experience lit a spark for Alysha that soon turned into a roaring fire. With Gerry’s support, she then enrolled in and later completed, a Level Five diploma in Digital Media and Design at Polytechnic Ara. It was an exceptional achievement, particularly as Alysha still finds interacting with people who she doesn’t know well, extremely difficult.

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Alysha was now achieving some of the things she’d wanted very badly but still, she struggled to believe in herself in the way those around her did. So Gerry suggested something that seemed at first to be quite left of field. He suggested that Alysha give karate a go. It’s a personal passion for Gerry – he was awarded a black belt by karate organisation JKS in Japan – and he felt it could be really beneficial for Alysha.

“I’d never tried anything like that before,” said Alysha. “But I thought, yeah, why not? I’ll give that a go!”

And so Alysha began karate classes. “By the second or third class I really got into it. The people there are really friendly, so I’ve made friends for the first time in a long time. I really enjoy the group classes and the one-on-one classes. I would then come home and practice and try to perfect the moves,” she says. Despite the disruptions of 2020, Alysha passed both her initial gradings.

She also qualified for JKS Shotokan Nationals and won a gold medal in the female development team ‘kata’ division. “I was really nervous as it was my first competition. It made it easier to have my two classmates competing too. I felt really proud when I was handed the medal.”

Inspired by her participation in karate, Alysha is now enrolled at Polytechnic Ara doing a Level Four Health and Wellbeing course. Once that is completed, she would like to enrol in a Bachelor of Social Work. She hopes that one day she’ll be able to support others to find the fulfilment and happiness that she has achieved. It’s an incredible turnaround, made more impressive because Alysha still battles the same difficult feelings and experiences of the world that she did when she first met Gerry. “Gerry is always so happy and relatable, which is why I really enjoy working with him. It’s been really good to have his support,” she says. Gerry believes Alysha shows tremendous resilience.

“Alysha has so much to be proud of in all that she has achieved in the past two years. She doesn’t shy away from any challenge, no matter how big. I know she still deals with the barriers and difficulties she lives with every day, but it just doesn’t stop her. It helps to have lots of support and acceptance from people around her and she works very hard to rise to these challenges and work through them,” says Gerry.

Every journey starts with just one step and for Alysha – that step has taken her to places she’d only dreamed of going.

Donation options

There are a number of ways you can donate to us, depending on what suits you best. You can choose to donate to our work nationally or to your nearest branch.

Contact us

0800 227 200 

CCS Disability Action
PO Box 6349 
Wellington 6141


You can make a one-off gift through your bank account or credit card.

Make A Donation

Internet Banking

If you would like to use internet banking, here are the details you will need:

Account Name: CCS Disability Action Inc
Account Number: 02-0568-0140030-10
Reference: Please use your first and last name as a reference

Direct debit

You can either get in touch with us and we can set up a direct debit for you, or you can complete this direct debit form and send it to us.


If you are used to paying us by cheque and want to understand the simplest alternative payment methods please contact:

Denise Aquino
National Coordinator – Donor Relationship Management
0800 227 200 or 04 801 0851 (DDI)

Payroll giving

Gifting through your pay is an easy way to make a regular donation. You will receive a tax credit instantly.

Please give your employer the following account details:
Account name: CCS Disability Action Payroll Giving
Account number: 02 -0568-0140030-00
Charity Number: CC30070

Donating your tax credit

You may be able to claim up to one-third of your donation back from Inland Revenue and then donate this to refund to us. This means you can make an even bigger difference without any further cost to yourself.

To claim your tax credit, you will need to download and complete this IRD tax credit form, fill it in, attach your receipts, and send it to the Inland Revenue. You can do this online using myIR or via post:

Inland Revenue
PO Box 39090
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045

You can learn more about claiming your tax credit on the IRD website.

To donate your credit, please use the donation option above that suits you best. Please get in touch with us to let us know so that we can look out for your donation and send you a thank you.

If you need copies of your donation receipts or need any support please contact:

Denise Aquino
National Coordinator – Donor Relationship Management
0800 227 200 or 04 801 0851 (DDI)

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