Children to be relocated after school closes doors

2018-12-12 06:00
The teachers and learners during better times at the CPA.PHOTO: byrone athman

The teachers and learners during better times at the CPA.PHOTO: byrone athman

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ON Friday at a sombre special meeting of the members of the Pietermaritzburg and District Cerebral Palsy Association, it was unanimously, but sadly, resolved to dissolve the association, which incorporated the Stepping Stones School for children with cerebral palsy.

With a heavy heart, the outgoing chairperson, Cosmas Ngubane — himself a parent of a child with cerebral palsy — welcomed parents, staff and other stakeholders to the meeting. Before tabling the motion to dissolve the association, Ngubane recounted highlights of the 40-year history of the association and explained that due to dwindling support from the donor community in South Africa, CPA was no longer sustainable; and the outgoing board had no option but to invoke the Dissolution Clause of the association’s Constitution.

He also mentioned that at the end of October, thanks to recent articles in The Witness about the plight of the association and Stepping Stones, which were read by the MEC for Basic Education, the outgoing board were invited to urgently meet with the minister and his officials. Within three weeks, a Ministerial Task Team presented parents, staff and the board with the recommendation that the children of Stepping Stones be accommodated at Peter Pan School in Scottsville.

After due consideration, the parents accepted this recommendation — despite concerns about transport arrangements, and lack of finality with regard to the employment of the Stepping Stones’ staff — whose dedication was integral to the confidence parents had in leaving their children in Stepping Stones’ care.

Before the resolution was finally put to the vote, the meeting was addressed by representatives from the Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest and Operation Jump Start Association, from whom the association rented its premises.

They cautioned against prolonging the life of CPA, citing the challenges in the NGO sector of securing funds in the current economic climate, and the onerous fiduciary responsibilities of board members.

At the conclusion of the meeting chairperson recorded his thanks to the outgoing board members and the following stakeholders:

• The staff and parents

• The numerous donors who have supported CPA in the past, and those who recently unhesitatingly came forward with the funds to enable the association to close with dignity, and meet its retrenchment obligations to the staff.

• The Minister of Basic Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane, and members of his task team.

• Operation Jump Start Association and Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest.

• Peter Pan School for their warm-hearted response to the minister’s request to accommodate our children.

The outgoing board thanks the staff for their exceptional service, and will gladly provide references, CVs and contact details to any institution or member of the public who could benefit from the services of our skilled carers.

We can be contacted after the holidays until the end of January on 033 342 2913 or at
cpassoc@futurenet.co.za.

The board wishes the Stepping Stones community everything of the very best at their new school and hopes that the words of Peter Pan himself will be meaningful to them at this time: “All you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust ...”

— Supplied.

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