Ezibeleni-based Phumelela Special Care and Training Centre that accommodates pupils with physical and psychological impairments recently celebrated disability month which ended on December 3, by showcasing its pupils’ skills and to raise awareness.
The centre, which has been largely supported by the community and businesses, offers training in beadwork, carpentry, baking and gardening for its pupils.
It has also grown to become a boarding school after moving out of a dilapidated building about two years ago, and was offered accommodation at a school that was left unattended due to the education department’s rationalisation program.
Centre manager Nobuntu Gulwa said 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, and the school’s annual Christmas party, made from items sponsored by locals, had to coincide with the disability awareness event.
“However, we are grateful that none of our pupils contracted Covid-19. We have been busy this year training and empowering the pupils with skills. We have since established a bakery after we were sponsored with industrial baking ovens. Our pupils get baking training from people from East London and they did so well that they got certificates. The cakes we have here today were baked by them.
“We are an optimally functioning school now that also offers boarding for pupils who do not have anyone to care for them at home, or who need special care, but the family cannot provide.”
Gulwa said the community and business people in Komani did not disappoint, but supported them once again when they asked for help for their disability awareness event and Christmas party.
“We were assisted by AR Boards who sponsored us with meat and braaied for us, local gynaecologist Dr Mihlali Simama bought a mat for one of our classrooms that accommodates autistic pupils so that they do not sit directly on a concrete floor. We also received drinks, snacks and other food items from several businesses and we appreciate the support.”
“Everything we have is thanks to government, businesses and individuals for always supporting us when we knock on their doors asking for assistance. I know we still have a long way to go before we have the kind of facility we envision, however, we believe that everything is how it is supposed to be and change will come in due course.”