“9:30 A.M and we’re waiting in the Ogilvy Johannesburg parking lot ready to begin our road trip to Orlando West. For most of us volunteering, Nkanyezi was unfamiliar territory but spirits were high and we were all going for a common purpose.
The Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre was founded in 1989 by Prisca Tshabalala whose son, Nkanyezi, suffered from Cerebral Palsy. Determined to enable and educate the community on children’s disabilities, Prisca founded the Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre in honour of her son.
Prisca is like the Mother Theresa of Orlando West. Her smile was filled with strength and warmth that only a mother and sincere community custodian could possess. We arrived with boxes of donated goods for the kids and although the soft toys were a fantastic addition to the Centre, I feel that the time spent (as Mash mentioned in her post about SKY) was of far greater value.
The children didn’t waste time getting attached either. The minute we stepped onto the playground they were determined to steal us for themselves and rightly so; they’re the reason we were there!
The first thing that caught my eye happened to be the playground. The grounds were exceptionally well kept as was all the apparatus. “Safety First”, my mum always used to say. The round-a-bout amazed me to the extent that I almost felt compelled to get on it. It was custom made to accommodate the children’s wheelchairs including ramps for easy access. Even the swings were wheelchair proof – instead of a seat or old-school tyre fixed to rope, it was a wheelchair safe seat with a ramp. This was an extraordinary example of how disabilities, although restricting, need not be unmanageable with the help of some creative thinking!
Situated behind the classrooms was the Nkanyezi Greenhouse. The Ogilvy Team was quick to get their hands dirty and didn’t wait for an invitation. Fifty green fingers tackled the weeds and rakes with a vengeance but the end result was rewarding. The greenhouse is now primed for sowing those magic beans! Our little helper was anxious to go a step further and start planting away but it was time for us to head inside for a little one-on-one TLC with these amazing kids.
Nonhlanlha, Ncamisile and Prisca are just three of the ladies who have dedicated their lives to these 40 children. They do what the parents are unable to. They’re not only there for the children in terms of education, they’re there for them physically and emotionally because that quality of attention is not available anywhere else in the community. The reality is that they’re unable to sustain the Centre with little to no funds. Since December 2011, the Nkanyezi Centre has received no funding from Government Subsidies, which has forced Prisca to use her own pension to keep Nkanyezi going. Jumble sales and jewelry sales are simply not enough to continually provide the children with food.”
If you are able to get involved you can check out Nkanyezi on their website, and they’re also doing a superb job of social networking on Facebook at Twitter. For more pictures of the day, have a look at our Flickr feed.