Villagers start own special needs daycare centre

2018-08-29 10:19

Parents in Great Kei Soto village, north of East London who were unable to find suitable schools for their children with special needs have started their own daycare centre. Sinokuhle Disability Day Care Centre has 25 learners aged between three and 18 and it needs more space.

The centre is in an old shack. It leaks when it rains and is cold. But parents say they are happy their children are not sitting at home doing nothing, GroundUp reported.

Schools that can accommodate children with special needs are located too far away from the village. Some are too expensive. In some cases, parents took their children out of schools because they felt the schools were negligent.


Sinokuhle Disability Day Care Centre was set up by parents in Soto village, in the rural Eastern Cape. (Manqulo Nyakombi, GroundUp)

Most parents in Soto do not have work. They rely on their children's monthly R1 690 disability grant. Parents pay between R300 and R400 per month for the centre.

Sinokuhle now also has children from surrounding areas. Nonzame Mali from Mooiplaas, 15km away, said she sends her son to the centre because she could not find a school for him. She is unemployed and has three children. Her son is still on the provincial department of education's waiting list.

Five parents work as volunteers and Noluthando Sohoku is the principal. The nearest suitable school she could find which had space to take her 10-year-old son was in Alice, 160km away. It cost her R400 a month and she was required to take toiletries every month for her son. To get there meant taking several taxis – to East London, then to King William’s Town and another to Alice.

READ: Children with disabilities grow old waiting for schools

Department facing 'challenges'

Lulama Ngxawe, one of the parent volunteers, said she struggled for years to find a school for her 14-year-old son.

"When my son was doing Grade R, his teacher noticed that he was a slow learner. Another challenge was that he was struggling to walk. He uses crutches. The teacher advised me to find a special school for him.

"After years of being on a waiting list they [the district department of education] sent me to a school in Alice. Unfortunately, I had to take him out of that school after I found him very sick and the school did not even inform me … I decided to take my son home so I can look after him," said Ngxawe.

Eastern Cape department of education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said: "You find that in one rural area there are only three children living with disability, and in different categories – one is blind, maybe others are slow when it comes to learning – and that can be a challenge for the department to build a school for three children. That is why we have to find them schools in other areas."

READ MORE: Disabled children to be accomodated in mainstream schools by 2021 – government

Mtima said currently the department has 46 schools for children with special needs and most schools are in Port Elizabeth and East London.

"There are children who are on a waiting list and we are doing whatever we can to make sure that they all find schools. Some are still being assessed by social workers," he said.

Spokesperson at the provincial department of social development Gcobani Maswana said they were not aware of Sinokuhle Disability Day Care Centre and officials would pay a visit.

Read more on:    east london  |  education

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.