Disabled people need support

2015-08-19 06:00
THE Rearabetswe Disability Centre’s management committee members are, (back row), from the left Buti Mahlumba, Putseletso Sebuelo, Suzen Dutlo and Thandi Mafa.In wheelchairs are two of the children housed at the day-care centre: Bokang Mogoregi (left

THE Rearabetswe Disability Centre’s management committee members are, (back row), from the left Buti Mahlumba, Putseletso Sebuelo, Suzen Dutlo and Thandi Mafa.In wheelchairs are two of the children housed at the day-care centre: Bokang Mogoregi (left

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THE Rearabetswe Disability Centre’s management in Meloding, Virginia, is appealing to the public to embrace disabled persons as valued members of society and as part of their families. The heartfelt appeal comes in the wake of observations made by the centre’s management regarding care and support of persons with disabilities.

Buti Mahlumba, member of the centre’s management and organiser, said while efforts were being made towards building an inclusive society, disabled persons were still left behind.

He was speaking at the centre’s belated celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on Saturday, (08/08) in Meloding, Virginia. Mahlumba said the sad part of it all was that disabled persons seemed to be discarded by their immediate families.

“It is difficult for the community to embrace disabled persons if the immediate family shows no compassion.

“My sentiments are based on numerous factors, among them lack of care and support as well as neglect.

“We have people X immediate familyX who bring children to the centre, expecting people here to do everything. They are not playing their part in caring, supporting and in improving the well-being of their own children.

“I strongly believe that parents and families who have children born with disabilities need counselling in accepting them. The feelings of regret at having a child born with a disability remains a big challenge in the process of building a caring nation. Disabled persons are the most vulnerable in society, yet they do not enjoy the same support and care as able-bodied persons. We are sincerely appealing to the public, including immediate families, to support and care for disabled persons,” said Mahlumba.

Catering for about 19 disabled persons, mostly children, the centre has been operating for three years from a two-roomed dwelling in the backyard of Putseletso Sebuelo, who serves on the management committee. She and other members volunteered to start a day-care centre, catering specially for children born with disabilities after observing their plight.

Sebuelo added that the disregard of disabled children by parents and family is evident from their failure to pay the monthly fee of R100 which goes towards providing groceries.

“Despite receiving social welfare grants, parents’ and families’ support are still not convincing. It has become our entire responsibility here at the centre to ensure that the of children with disabilities are properly taken care of..

“It is difficult to render care without the support of the public, parents and families,” Sebuelo said. She said the centre desperately needed donations in the form of essential items such as mattresses, blankets and wheelchairs for children aged six to 12. The centre also accommodates adults who do not have people caring for them at their respective homes during the day.

) The centre’s first windfall has come in the donation of blankets from the Lejweleputswa District Municipality on Mandela’s birthday celebration. Those willing to help can phone Mahlumba on 071-945-7652 or Sebuelo on 073-778-0293

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