Winner dreams big

2016-05-18 06:00
NATIONAL WINNER: Mathanapo Mbhele of the Tshepang Educare Trust in Bethlehem with the trophy and certificate she received in the South African Early Childhood Development Awards. She was honoured in the category for best early childhood development programme for children and babies with disabilities.  Photo: Tladi Moloi

NATIONAL WINNER: Mathanapo Mbhele of the Tshepang Educare Trust in Bethlehem with the trophy and certificate she received in the South African Early Childhood Development Awards. She was honoured in the category for best early childhood development programme for children and babies with disabilities. Photo: Tladi Moloi

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BETHLEHEM. – Mathanapo Mbhele (45) from Bohlokong, Bethlehem, is a national winner. She was honoured at the South African Early Childhood Development Awards in the category for best early childhood development programme for children and babies with disabilities. The awards ceremony was held at the Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town.

Mbhele won the top award, with the finalists from Limpopo and the Northern Cape coming second and third respectively. She received a certificate of excellence, a trophy and a cash prize.

Mbhele, who is a coordinator of the Family Community Motivator and Special Needs Programme at the Tshepang Educare Trust in Bethlehem, advanced to the national round after she had been voted the best in the Free State.

Tshepang is a centre that deals with early childhood development. It was started in 1995, with the additional aim of training practitioners.

In 2015, the special needs programme was launched at the centre. It started with ten children and now 25 children have been taken under the centre’s wing as part of this programme.

The outspoken Mbhele says she would like to dedicate the award to Denise Hill, who started the initiative.

“I think we wouldn’t have had that programme if it had not been for her. She left for greener pastures some years ago, but at that time she had already created a solid foundation,” Mbhele says.

“I wish she were at the awards ceremony with me to witness the fruits of her labour.”

She says she was overwhelmed when she was called to the stage to accept the award.

“I was confident of winning, but my body was shaking and I could not stop crying when I got onto the stage.

“Look, God has never failed me and I will keep on praying that he blesses me more.”

Mbhele says she would like to thank everyone who contributed to her achievement, especially the parents of children at the centre.

“I want to thank the parents who trusted me with their children.

“My next dream is to see us in a big building with accommodation, so that we can help more children.”

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