For the love of little children, a Limpopo woman started a centre for children living with disabilities. She provides comfort to children who are living with disabilities.
She turned her challenges of living with a child with disabilities into the Tshepo Foundation. The Foundation is situated in Bothashoek village outside Burgersfort. It was in 2019 when Dineo Thwala (28) started to show deep feelings of sympathy for her sister’s child. Her sister’s child who was living with cerebral palsy didn’t walk, talk and sit. The feelings of sympathy blossomed into a support group of parents of kids living with disabilities.
She said: “We are struggling to register the centre simply because the department of social development is delaying to register us as a non profit organisation.” She blamed and lambasted for social workers for not being passionate to do their work.
“I am encouraging other parents and teaching them to take care of children living with disabilities using an app,” said Thwala.
Ester Chauke, 12, is one of the children who received a donation to restore her mobility and dignity. Her unemployed mother Bususiwe Chauke (32) who survives on her disability grant said: “I will be able to stand on my own and look for a job.”
Chauke said: “Seeing other children being able to play together and some trying to speak was a joy to me.”
Thwala told The Daily Sun that when Bususiwe’s daughter, Ester was admitted she was not able to do anything. Now Chauke is able to speak, move around and eat solid food.
Caring for people living with disabilities has always been a challenge. However, for unemployed Thwala it has become her passion. The centre operates in a 3 room house in her backyard.
The centre cares for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. However, the place is not big enough to cater for the needs of 26 children.
“We are having challenges such as cleaning material, transport, toiletry and wheelchairs. We knocked at all possible doors all in vain trying to get a place to build a promised centre. Many children depend on the centre for their social contact with other kids living with the same condition. They ease their pain well and train them,” she said.
Many children living with disabilities are isolated at home because they have no one to communicate with. Thwala said with the centre, the children have a sense of belonging simply “because we really show them love and care”.
Most of the children who come to the centre are from not well to do families. Thwala said: “We provide meals twice a day.”
She has pleaded for support from a professional physiotherapist to provide therapy training.
“The centre is unable to get assistance. We are not registered but we have a comprehensive business plan. We only need certificates to continue applying and secure funding from the government,” she said.
In March 2021, the foundation was given 11 buggy wheelchairs and blankets. The wheelchairs were courtesy of two non-profit organisations: the Paige Project and Boikanyo – the Dion Herson Foundation.