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NC man opens centre for disabled kids

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“The idea came as I realised that there are not many educational centres for disabled children and in some places there are none.”

THE PLIGHT of having to take care of his disabled brother spurred a 34-year-old Hartswater man, Bongani Mosepele, to open a non-profit organisation (NPO) for disabled children in the town.

Mosepele said he is the guardian and caretaker of his disabled brother after their parents passed away.

He said his struggle to find a suitable centre that catered for disabled children in and around the Northern Cape, as well as other parts of the country, inspired him to open his own centre.

“I took care of my brother since the age of two and he is now 17-years-old. In Hartswater there is no centre or school for children with disabilities and I struggled to find a place or someone to look after him. I started thinking about opening my own centre five years ago when I realised that I was not the only person in this situation,” said Mosepele.

“I started saving money for the centre and was finally able to register my NPO, Ntlhokomele Ngwana Home of Disability. The centre opened on January 13, 2020. I have 15 children, including my brother, who I look after at the centre. The aim of the centre is to educate the children and equip them with skills.

“The idea came as I realised that there are not many educational centres for disabled children and in some places there are none.”

Mosepele said the centres he did find were not satisfactory. “I travelled with my brother over the years. I once placed him in a centre in Johannesburg as I was working there. However, I found out that the people at the centre were not caring for him properly. We then moved to Rustenburg for work purposes and I placed him in another centre. That also turned out to be disastrous and I took him out again.

“This challenge showed me that some people are not equipped or do not possess the patience to take care of children with disabilities.”

Mosepele said that he has been inundated with requests from parents who are seeking help at his centre.

“I went around town and handed out flyers as a way of advertising the centre. Many people have been calling me requesting more information. The only challenge is that I can only accommodate about 20 children currently and I am already over that number. I have had so many calls from people who want to bring their children – illustrating that there is a dire need for the education and caring of children with disabilities in the Province.”

He added that the real challenge now, was to ensure that he kept the centre’s doors open.

“The centre has been operating for a few days now but there are so many challenges. I am renting a place out of my own pocket. I had to fork out my own money to buy educational resources and mattresses for the centre. All expenses relating to the centre I had to cover myself thus far. I also have two women working with me, one of whom had a child herself who was disabled.

“I tried to secure funding from the Department of Social Development but I was told that applications for funding are closed and will only reopen in August.

“I really want to keep the centre open as it is a beacon of hope for many people.”

The Department of Social Development spokesperson, Gamiem Abrahams, said that they have no record indicating the request for funding or a business plan from the NPO.

Abrahams urged all applicants to follow the correct procedures when requesting funding.

“The NPO should ensure that its status is verified and is still active with the NPO Directorate, whose contact details are (012) 312 7500 or they can send an e-mail to [email protected] The NPO can get into contact with Mr Phindile Mrobo, the official responsible for ECD and NPO funding in the Phokwane area, on 060 978 7944. The official will assist the NPO in terms of the IFM requirements and NPO support concerning the needed documentation for funding. Once the business plan is ready, it has to be submitted to Mrobo, stationed in the Pampierstad area, who will check against compliance and will give further guidance. Only Once the business plan is compliant, will the organisation receive an acknowledgement letter from the district, thereafter it will be appraised,” said Abrahams.

“It must be noted that submitting a compliant business plan does not guarantee funding as the provincial office will give an indication as to whether there is money to fund new business plans.”