About One to One

The concept of ONE to ONE originated in the 1970’s in the UK. Professional caregivers were concerned that whilst they were doing as much as they could, the Intellectually Disabled lacked motivation and spark. Coupled with that, the disabled had no interaction with the rest of society; the high walls around facilities kept both groups apart.


To address the situation, a party was organised within a ward in a facility in the UK, involving those with an intellectual disability and an equal number of local community members on a one-to-one basis. In the informal and relaxed environment, the professionals wanted to assess whether the community and disabled would interact positively. This experiment paid off handsomely! It was witnessed by Isak Wolfaard, the then principal of the Glendale Teaching and Training Unit. He liked what he saw and returned to Cape Town, bringing this idea to our shores through his colleagues at Cape Mental Health. Since 1981 this initiative has flourished annually into what is today known as ONE to ONE.


In 1981 we entertained around 1,250 persons with an intellectual disability. The event takes place annually and entertains with the same excitement and enjoyment some 3,400 disabled guests. We work very closely with the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability, where the forum liases with facilities and workshops arranging the invitations for the disabled, and we arrange the venue, the entertainment and the stall holders.

Who started it all started back in 1981...

Albert Glass  and Ronnie Diamond  were at the vanguard  of the communal effort.

The One to One Event

As Bnai Brith members, we received the invitation to consider this unusual event. This had never done before. We realised that organising this event was quite challenging and more than only one organisation was required. We wanted it to be a success, we needed help. So we canvassed similar organisations and groups like the Lions Club International, Rotary International, Round Table and more; we invited them to consider joining in as a collective effort with this special event and provide a magical and special day for some of Cape Town's most “special” people.


To get the general public involved as “friends”, we invited the community to come forward. We did this through assistance with advertising campaigns and got the support of the media. This was a unique and a one-of-a-kind event that drew overwhelming reaction of support from a caring public.