Wheelchairs cultivate learners’ self-reliance

The Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein received a donation of wheelchairs for learners’ use on Thursday (19/11). From the left are, front: Eleanor Pass, Kananelo Raleting, Mathapelo Ndou, Nkosinathi Tau and Lesego Lesala; back: Margueriet Botha (Bloemcare), Nicola Visser (Bloemcare), Gary Lindeque (Mmaki Trading), Dorian Williams (Bloempapier), Lynn Douw (Tau Pele), Christo Labuschagne (Tau Pele) and Verna Vorster (principal of the Tswellang Special School).Photo: Teboho Setena
The Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein received a donation of wheelchairs for learners’ use on Thursday (19/11). From the left are, front: Eleanor Pass, Kananelo Raleting, Mathapelo Ndou, Nkosinathi Tau and Lesego Lesala; back: Margueriet Botha (Bloemcare), Nicola Visser (Bloemcare), Gary Lindeque (Mmaki Trading), Dorian Williams (Bloempapier), Lynn Douw (Tau Pele), Christo Labuschagne (Tau Pele) and Verna Vorster (principal of the Tswellang Special School).Photo: Teboho Setena

The lives of eight disabled learners of the Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein have taken a turn for the better thanks to a donation of manual wheelchairs.

Courtesy of private local companies, the devices were presented to the learners on Thursday (19/11).

The donation was made in response to the school’s wheelchair project.

Through this ongoing project, the school requests public-private entities to sponsor wheelchairs as part of a community investment initiative.

According to Verna Vorster, principal of the Tswellang Special School, wheelchairs remain vital to the well-being of the learners by enabling them to become more productive members of their communities.

“By sponsoring a wheelchair, the donor is creating an opportunity for a learner to participate in school activities. The school relies heavily on donations for the learners’ wheelchair needs,” said Vorster.

One of the devices’ most immediate benefits is enhan­cing the learners’ mobility.

Because members of the broader public are challenged to support the initiative, the project also works to raise public awareness about the needs of people with disabilities.

According to Vorster, a wheelchair helps a learner to become self-reliant.

“For many learners, an appropriate, well-designed and well-fitted wheelchair can be the first step towards inclusion, participation in society and further study.”

Because of their complex physical disabilities, the learners have varying challenges limiting their mobility.

Of the 276 learners enrolled at the school, 95 are dependent on wheelchairs and 38 need walking frames.

According to Vorster, the donation of appropriate devices makes it possible for disabled learners to live a full, dignified life.

“It is the school’s vision to enable learners to venture into entrepreneurship.”

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