A mother of a disabled Southbourne Primary pupil initiated a visit to the school with members of Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) Cacadu branch to educate pupils about disabilities.
Lungiswa Quwe from Whittlesea whose daughter (a grade one pupil at Southbourne) has a physical disability, said the session for grade 1 to 3 was motivated by challenges that she had to face as a parent. “The problem began when she had to start school. She would come back heartbroken and she would ask questions like ‘Mama, why can’t I be like other children, they always make fun of me and make fun of how I walk? or she would say: “When will the doctors fix me mama?’ As a parent that really cut deep but I always had to encourage her to be positive and focus on her studies. I know that most young people stop going to school because of this. I want my child to grow up a self confident young girl who is not shaken by what other people think of her.” said Quwe
DPSA member paraplegic Noxolo Gonono said the purpose was to encourage young people who were not disabled to accept those living with disabilities. “When I was still in school, it was hard because we would be teased and most of us would end up quitting school. Special schools were not an alternative because some of us would not be accepted for various reasons. There was little knowledge about schools that accommodate the disabled. We are now living in a time where the education department has introduced its approach of inclusive education. We are now trying to educate by visiting schools to impart knowledge to pupils, teachers as well as parents.”
Foundation phase head of department Simone Morrings said their pupils were understanding and compassionate. “But obviously there would be a few who would try make fun of others. That is the reason why we felt it was necessary to have this awareness campaign so they could be more open and understanding.”