Emadlelweni Centre of Hope for children with Special Needs

The community of Indwe in the Chris Hani district can safely be counted among citizens who uphold the rights of persons living with disabilities.
This is all thanks to Emadlelweni Special Day Care centre that is situated at Mavuya    Township in Indwe. The center takes care of children and young people living with Disabilities, in and around Emalahleni local municipality.
It began eight years ago, in 2008, when the project manager of the centre, Zithulele Eric Dlephu, saw the need to have a place in his area, where people living with disabilities can be catered for. “I decided to start this centre and to care for the disabled people, because from my observation, they were not given the dignity and respect in their homes and within the community,” said Dlephu. The centre has since grown, boasting a total of 15 caregivers, taking care of 20 children at the centre, as well as 150 others who receive home visits. The home visits are targeting orphaned children who live by themselves, children living with HIV/AIDS as well as the ones from a very poor background who cannot fend for themselves.
Nomfundo Gcinisa is one of the care givers and her biggest wish for the centre is to have its own place, where it would be 100% safe and conducive for the children to learn various skills. “We are currently based in a garage and it is not safe with all garden tools
being accommodated in the same room. It would also be great to have sewing material and beads so that we can teach the children some handwork”, said Gcinisa.
Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, commended Mr Dlephu and his staff for the good work that they have been doing. The Premier visited the centre, after receiving
communication from Dlephu, about tools they needed to develop the centre further. “I decided to come and see what the centre was doing and how we can complement them
because largely, they are doing what government is supposed to be doing,” he said. “I am glad that the local municipality has also supported. We must just complement the
efforts in making this as impactful as possible. This is something that will go a long way in assisting us address challenges we have, particularly for children with special needs,” added Premier Masualle.
In collaboration with the Al-Imdaad Foundation, the Office of the Premier donated some much needed nonperishable food packets and 75 winter blankets to the center. The municipality has since identified an old building for the center which Premier Masualle inspected.
The building will require some major refurbishment and the Premier has instructed various departments to avail different services in line with their mandate. Amongst others, Department of Social Development to arrange for a permanent stipend for the caregivers; Departments of Health and Education should secure services of a therapists and teachers trained for special schools, who will contribute towards teaching the children at the centre as well as for Department of Public Works to evaluate the identified building for expert opinion on the structure and steps to be followed thereafter.
Parents of the children who attend Emadlelweni special day care centre were also appreciative of the efforts made by everyone involved. One of the parents, Ms. Nosandiso Ngcakumfana, says she used to take her child to a special school at Peddie due to the unavailability of such centres in her own community of Indwe. “I can see the difference since my child has been coming to this centre. I’m grateful for the efforts made by the caregivers and every helping hand. It warms my heart that we are not alone in the challenge of raising our children with special needs,” said Ngcakumfana.
Emadlelweni Special Day Care Centre is a non-profit organization. To contribute to the centre, contact centre management via e-mail at emadlelweni888@gmail.com or call the project manager - 078 302 0294.