Chaeli an internationally recognised ability activist. She is the founder of the Chaeli Campagin, which provides support to children with disabilities in South Africa, and the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club, to promote and provide sports and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities in an inclusive social and sporting environment. She was also the founding Chairperson of IkeyAbility at her university - a student organisation advocating for a more inclusive university.
She has been awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011, the Medal for Social Activism from the Nobel Peace Laureates in 2012 and she accepted the World of Children Youth Award in New York in 2013. In 2017 she won the Turner Social Change Prize and in 2018 was welcomed as an Obama Foundation inaugural #AfricanLeader and also chosen as one of our Global Changemakers.
Chaeli graduated with a Bachelors of Social Sciences degree. She is completing her Masters’ in Human Rights Law (specialising in education for children with disabilities) and will begin her PhD in Human Rights Law, focusing on youth empowerment in 2018.
On 3 September 2015, Chaeli became the first female quadriplegic to summit Mt Kilimanjaro. She also competes in wheelchair dancing on the international stage, is the first wheelchair athlete in 95 years to finish the iconic 89km Comrades Marathon. On 4 June 2017 she became the 1st adaptive (assisted wheelchair) athlete to get her Comrades back-to-back, competing in her 4th Comrades in June 2019. Chaeli has completed 4 Cape Town Cycle Tours as Team Beastie, in a buggy with her cycling partners.