New Facility for Special Needs Children in Mfuleni Community
Today the Minister of Local Government, Anton Bredell, visited his department's Community Development Workers' (CDWs), Lonwabo Disabled Children's Project in Mfuleni. The aim of his visit was to highlight the impact this project is making on the lives of disabled children in this community and view the crucial work being done by the CDWs.
In 2008, Sarah Marthinus, a CDW based in Mfuleni, heard of Thandeka Mafila, a community member, who was trying to establish a facility for children with special needs. No other facility caring for special needs children existed in her community and she was concerned that many of these children were being left at home during the day, with no proper care or stimulation. Her biggest challenge was the fact that she did not have the funds to build such a centre.
Marthinus, with the assistance of two University of the Western Cape (UWC) physiotherapy students, sought sponsorship through Jive soft drink, which donated fourty-seven thousand rand (R 47 000). The project started out in a small backyard room, but today, Mafila runs an educare facility for thirteen (13) special needs children with the funds received from the sponsor. Mafila collects the children every day and drops them at home again in the afternoon, as many parents do not have means of transport. In many cases they also do not have the funds to pay for caring services for their children.
The building was completed at the end of July and now Marthinus is in the process of registering the new facility as a crèche with the Department of Social Development.
Local government is effective when community members are actively involved in their community's development. "We are seeing more and more community members who are prepared to step in and assist their fellow community members, like Thandeka has done for the special needs children in her community," says Minister Bredell.
"This project has provided a place of safety and care for our children with special needs. I was encouraged by Thandeka's willing spirit and empathy. Her vision of making a difference in the lives of both the children and their parents drove me to take on this project and find funding to make it a success," says Marthinus.
Provincial Minister of Local Government
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