Joburg autism school forced to close

2012-07-26 11:30

Johannesburg - A special school for autistic children in Johannesburg will have to close its doors for a lack of funding, according to a report on Thursday.

"We would have celebrated our 40-year anniversary next year," school principal Jenni Gous told Beeld newspaper.

The school needs at least R1m to stay open and was expected to close its doors within eight to 12 weeks.

It had applied for funding from the National Lottery Board, but has not received any money.

The lottery board's spokesperson Sershan Naidoo told Beeld that Autism SA had lodged its application on the last day, and that the board had received 8 500 applications.

"Applications are judged on a chronological basis, so they will have to wait their turn. The advert asked organisations to lodge their applications as early as possible," said Naidoo.

The Key School was one of a few in Gauteng that specialised in autistic children, and most other such institutions had high school fees - up to R20 000 per month, reported Beeld.

Gous said an estimated one in 100 people were autistic.

"A conservative estimate would put the number of autistic children in Johannesburg at about 35 000 - with only a handful of schools attending to their needs," Gous told the Afrikaans daily.

  • anthony.j.scheepers - 2012-07-26 11:37

    Why dont they contact the Els for Autism fund?

      procold2 - 2012-07-26 12:21

      alicia my point exactly, they have given millons to soccer and some other sporting codes, cant see acouple of bar breaking lottos bank,

      ann.murray.9279 - 2012-07-26 12:36

      @ Alecia ~ You echo my sentiments and thoughts exactly - the lottery was created for just this purpose. However they squander money on useless conferences for the ANCYL who are too lazy/useless to raise their own funds. It makes me so sad and also mad that our country is regressing in this manner!

      ann.murray.9279 - 2012-07-26 12:39

      Besides which - I would like to add - many of these people would not even begin to know the trauma connected to having autism for both the sufferer or their family members!!!

      nicola.killops - 2012-07-26 16:39

      @ anthony, I am a Key School Mom and I have contacted him but had no luck.

  • merkwaardig.obskuur - 2012-07-26 11:46

    "Applications are judged on a chronological basis, so they will have to wait their turn..." said Naidoo. WHAT A PR|CK!

  • teresita.cuniberticillie - 2012-07-26 11:58

    The funding problem for Autistic children's schooling is not just in J'burg. My son is Autistic and it was a nerve shatering nightmare getting him into a school. We have found a lot of problems is ignorance on the part of the public.

  • karen.dumeeduval - 2012-07-26 12:00

    So how much is the Lotto Fund spending on the National Youth Development Agency for an International Youth Festival this year? R40 million? How many special needs schools would that have kept running?

  • nicola.killops - 2012-07-26 12:08

    My son is at The Key School. The lotto funded them for 8 uyears and just stopped without any formal explaination. The did send 50 Million to the Serbian tourist board!!!! I have contacted Ernie Els and every newspaper, radio station, tv show and corporate to help save this amazing place to no avail. This is a tragedy!! Lotto has done this to most NGO's this year including Nkosi's Haved and Cotlands. It is scandalous.

      Moi - 2012-07-26 13:33

      Absolutely shocking! Surely SOMEONE in government could step in and move them to the top of the list???

  • mholthuysen - 2012-07-26 12:32

    Oh but our "beloved" leader can buy himself a new Boeing 777 government jet - at what R 70 billion? And fly with 3 planes to New York at R 120 million... simply disgusting!

      ann.murray.9279 - 2012-07-26 12:41

      @ Mike - Not so much of the 'beloved' ... :)

      mholthuysen - 2012-07-26 12:52

      I know Ann - but irony helps us survive :-)

  • richard.gouws.9 - 2012-07-26 12:33

    Why can't the MEC's use half of their monthly credit card budget they have just received? This should without a doubt cover the R1m..........

  • afrikeni - 2012-07-26 12:46

    And we can give millions (child grants etc) to able bodied people as a thanks for bringing kids into this world monthly they can't afford but can't find some money to give these special needs kids to set them up for a better life - it's sickening!

  • afrikeni - 2012-07-26 12:50

    Actually what's the use of social development or women, children and people with disabilities or education ministries' responsibilities in terms of issues like these. Just to sit in offices in Pretoria & Cape Town and talk on TV & radio about rubbish projects they never see to the end.

  • karen.groenewald.71 - 2012-07-26 13:06

    How about we take the decision upon ourselves to where the Lotto money will go to this week? If everybody can pay the money they would usually spend on Lotto tickets, into the school's bank account?? We don't have to wait for Lotto to decide where the money goes to? I think it's time the decent people stand up for what we believe in! Perhaps @Nicola.Killops can help us with the details where to get the money to? We might just keep this school open!!

      lindaawhelan - 2012-07-26 13:16

      That's a good idea Karen, if enough people donate a little it will help.

      nicola.killops - 2012-07-26 14:35

      Thanks for the encouragement. If anyone is willing to help they can reach the school on 0117262445. Any bit helps.

  • Phelamanga - 2012-07-26 13:30

    Isn't it just amazing that ANC-aligned organisations can get Lotto funds by jumping to the head of the queue while organisation that are legit and delivering services have be relegated to a chronological pecking order. Looks as if legit service delivery organisations are left with pickings after the ANC has taken its pockets-fill.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-07-26 15:25

      Yes, this is the ANC way.

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-07-26 13:30

    They're all sitting in parliament!

  • nicola.killops - 2012-07-26 13:40

    If you can help please call The Key School 011 7262445. We will be eternally grateful!

      Catherine - 2012-07-26 15:13

      @ Nicola - have you tried 94.7's Breakfast show? They may be willing to do a charity drive of sorts......

      nicola.killops - 2012-07-26 15:26

      Sadly yes. Highveld, jacaranda, 702, 5fm. No response at all. It has been 6 months of non stop begging and pleading for some help.

  • amanda.frost.7543 - 2012-07-26 17:10

    This is unbearable. We have a closed 24HR community based nursing home - our story is the same. The Plettaid Foundation was also told that its proposal had been received on the final day of a very short window period that was allowed for submission. This is no excuse for LOTTO not to deliver on their mandate. They MUST institute a system where previously funded services, that are delivering, get priority. It must get sorted out NOW! NGOs marched, they have gone to parliament, and the outcome is a reduction of humanitarian services that our government cannot deliver and the closure - forever - of precious civil society organisations. The Lotteries Trust Fund Board must be held to account now! Who will do it?

  • PmaQDaddy - 2012-12-07 13:41

    i remember doing outreach at keys. they had wealthy benefactors at the time, i wonder where they are now.

  • Jennifer Gous - 2015-04-15 07:56

    The Key School is in fact still open (April 2015) due to support from a syndicate of private schools in Johannesburg including, amongst others, Redhill, Kingsmead, St Stithians, St John's, St Katherine's and Japari. The staff have also persevered because we believe in what we do. With the help of God, we are gaining strength again. We actually remained open despite the difficulties we faced at the time and so the headline of this article is misleading. We are open for new enrolments and we are still serving the needs of children with autism. We are seeing ongoing progress in every child and this is very encouraging! April is World Autism Awareness Month and so please spread the word that we offer world class intervention to children with autism between the ages of 2 and 12.

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