Cerebral palsy centres face closure for lack of funding

2019-06-13 10:51
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One of the oldest and best known cerebral palsy centres in the province might have to close its doors because of a lack of funds.

The KwaZulu-Natal Cerebral Palsy Association, which runs two day-care centres in Mariannhill Park, Pinetown, announced earlier this month that they were ‘devastated’ that they might have to close their centres. This comes shortly after the closure of the Pietermaritzburg Cerebral Palsy Association in December last year for the same reasons.

Ina Borstlap, director of the KZN Cerebral Palsy Association, said that they have been existing from hand to mouth for a while now, at this stage they only have sufficient funds to keep them going for a few more months.

“In these tough economic times, donors are reluctant to part with cash. Even the small amount from our iconic Cerebral Palsy dolls has diminished. Many wonderful people and businesses donate goods and services, but we need money to keep our doors open,” said Borstlap.

The association has supported cerebral palsied people and their families from all around the province for the last 50 years and if it closes, 24 children and adults will have nowhere to go, while 17 staff members will be jobless.

“The individuals in our care have extremely high needs and most can do little for themselves. The ratio of carer to member is one to three. It is ironic that we have a waiting list, indicating the demand, yet are facing closure. We have tried absolutely everything to find the necessary funds but to no avail,” she said.

Borstlap said there are other disability centres in KZN but they do not cater for cerebral palsy and some can be expensive for people from disadvantaged or single income families.

Yvonne Spain, former deputy chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg and District Cerebral Palsy Association, said if she was still working, she would call an urgent meeting with the Social Development and Health departments to prevent the Life Esidimeni tragedy repeating itself in KZN.

• Anyone able to assist with ideas or funding, please contact Ina Borstlap on 031 7003956 or 083 631 7777.

Family wonder where to turn

Busisiwe Mdlalose’s 18-year-old daughter has been with the KZN Cerebral Palsy Association in Mariannhill Park since she was six years old.

Mdlalose said when her daughter started attending the day-care centre, she was recovering from several operations and could not walk or talk.

“They have been able to teach her things that I never thought she would ever be capable of doing. She is totally independent now and can walk, go to the bathroom on her own and although she can’t talk properly, she is now able to communicate verbally,” said Mdlalose.

She said should the centres close, her family will be faced with a big problem to find another centre for her and forking out more money as special schools don’t come cheap.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cerebral palsy
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