Special needs school nominated

2015-10-28 06:00
Seven-year-old Andile Mahlongo is in Grade R.  Photo:  supplied

Seven-year-old Andile Mahlongo is in Grade R. Photo: supplied

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THIS week, Mark White Nissan Amanzimtoti’s “Change your Wheels, Change your Life” wheelchair campaign led it to Open Air School in Glenwood,.
The dealership’s aim is to provide at least one pupil, hopefully three pupils from the school with wheelchairs.

“Our dealership is on the ‘drive’ to make this happen with the help of our wonderful community,” said Mark White Nissan marketing manager Carol Mathews.

The dealership started the campaign in April, where a percentage from any vehicle sold is put aside for the wheelchair foundation. This fund is further boosted with donations from the public. Since May, Mark White Nissan Amanzimtoti has handed over a wheelchair per month. This month, two donations were made.

Established 94 years ago, the Open Air School provides education to children with special educational needs. Part of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, it is the main academic school in the province for children with disabilities.

Currently there are three pupils from Open Air School who need powered wheelchairs.

Zama Zulu is in Grade 9 at the school. She comes from Pongola and lives in the hostel at the school. She is the school’s Boccia­ (bowls for disabled) champion and represents it at the national championships for the disabled nationals. Last year she earned silver for her efforts at Boccia.
Zama suffers from Centronuclear myopathy­, her arms are weak and she can’t roll the wheelchair up the ramps at school and has to rely on others to assist her.
She would love to move around independently and a powered wheelchair would help her to live her life to the fullest she says.

Nine-year-old Sheldon Moodley suffers from Cerebral palsy and is in the junior bridging class.
“I would love a powered wheelchair to get myself where I need to be, but I won’t be lazy to do other stuff once I have the chair,” he said.
“My arms are simply not strong enough,” he added. Sheldon loves playing with his friends, but finds it difficult to keep up with them.

Andile Mahlongo is a seven-year-old Grade R pupil who suffered from TB, which entered his spine, leaving him a paraplegic.
His teachers say that he is a very hard working young boy, known for his lovely drawings that place him at the top of his class. Because his spinal injury is quite high up, he is weak in his upper body and needs a powered wheelchair. Currently he is in a manual wheelchair and does not have the strength to push himself long distances or up and down ramps, so he is dependent on someone to push him.

“We are making a gauge to show how much money we are bringing in and will update the community through the Fever. Let us to see how quickly we can fill it up. It costs approximately R18 000 per powered wheelchair,” Mathews said.

Open Air School is a school where teaching is a passion.
Headed by principal Noel Moodley, the dedicated staff strive to provide specialised support to the pupils.
The vision is that when the pupils leave the school, they will be confident, pro-active members of society­. The school offers education to children from pre-primary to matric.

Currently the school has limited wheelchairs.
“Our government issues wheelchairs to adults, but not to children.
“This is a huge challenge for the school and parents as the majority of our pupils need wheelchairs to be mobile,” school physio Vanessa Rademeyer said.

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