Upskilling the disabled in Clermont

2016-11-08 06:00
Nomvula Mvuyane at the vegetable garden made by pupils Photo: nosipho mkhize

Nomvula Mvuyane at the vegetable garden made by pupils Photo: nosipho mkhize

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“HAVING a mental disability does not mean a person does not have skills,” says Ntombi Mchunu, a caregiver at Siyabathanda Day Care Centre in Clermont.
The centre was established in 1998 after a group of concerned mothers, who had children with disabilities, saw a need for a centre for the disabled.
“These mothers volunteered and made an effort to teach the children skills while taking care of them.
“They officially registered the centre in 2005 as a non-profit-organisation,” said Mchunu.

She said the purpose of the centre is to care, feed and teach mentally disabled children skills.
“We train the children in bead work, baking, gardening and how to make accessories such as necklaces and earrings using recycled items. We also teach them basic house chores, how to keep themselves clean and how to take care of themselves.

“At the moment we have seven staff members who take care of 30 children from the age of two to 21, however, it depends on the child’s behaviour because sometime we let them go at the age of 18.”

The centre is in the Clermont Clinic, premises that makes it easier for student nurses to volunteer at the centre by giving the children therapy.
“We are fortunate to have student nurses who help us. They also help with organising workshops and campaigns for our volunteers.”

However, the centre is struggling because it doesn’t have enough resources to teach the children.
“We put the children first before anything. We want them to be better people and give them skills, which they can use when they leave the centre, but we find it difficult to do this because we don’t resources.
“We also don’t have a vehicle to pick up and drop them off and often a child misses school because a parent did not have enough money to pay for transport.

“Most of these children come from poor families and their parents can’t afford R100 for school fees, which means that most are schooled for free. “We can’t chase away a child because a parent cannot afford school fees, so we keep them at the centre rather than being at home because they learn a lot of skills that stimulates their mind and body,” says Mchunu.

For more information, contact Mchunu on 073 644 2571.


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