In March Ali Smeeton travelled to Tshwaranang to meet Mama Sofia who started the Tshwaranang Center for the Disabled in 2001.

Having just retired, Mama Sofia found the Moemaneng community needed a caring facility for children and young adults with disabilities.  Mama Sofia opened the centre with five children and it now provides food, shelter and education to 40 persons with disabilities.

Last month Ali Smeeton was asked by Lynette, director of Sparta, to help Mama Sofia.  Mama Sofia and her volunteers were to be trained on how to provide an education for the children and adults and to find 13 wheelchairs.

Tammy Jordaan, an occupational therapist at the Arise & Shine Centre for children with disabilities in Umhlanga  and Margaux d’Hangest d’Yvoy,  an Occupational Therapist at the Ethembeni School in Valley of a Thousand Hills, KZN we brought in to help.

On arriving at the Centre, Ali was overwhelmed at the work Mama Sofia and her team were doing and also their need for assistance.  Mama Sofia as asked to list the top five things she needed and she mentioned: Tables, chairs, large nappies, plastic covered mattresses and big pots.  I Can! was expected to train the staff  but many basic needs were not being met.

It took six hours to measure the children/adults for wheelchairs.  And Mama Sofia and her team were trained on a caseload of educational games.

I Can! will return to screen the children/adults and separate them into an early childhood development, academic stream  and skills groups.  Mama Sofia will be assisted in designing design a schedule to ensure that each child/adult and their full potential.

Thanks to Sparta for sponsoring airfares and bringing I Can! to be part of the centre. Also, thank you to Tammy and Margaux for their help with the wheelchairs.  And finally, thanks to Ethembeni School and Arise & Shine.

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