Sinezwi – ‘We have a voice’

On 4 May, Siyakwazi was fortunate enough to host London-based disability rights activist, Lord Kevin Shinkwin. Forty parents from the tribal authority kwaNzimakwe came to hear Lord Shinkwin’s testimony and also share their own stories about living with disability.

The event is one of several awareness drives that Siyakwazi has been involved in this year to break the stigma and educate the community of kwaNzimakwe about disability. “Disability is not a curse, people with disabilities can learn and work,” explains Makhosi Shusha, Manager at Siyakwazi. “Reaching parents and caregivers with information and resources encourages them to refer children to Siyakwazi who we can work with.”

Siyakwazi’s inclusion programmes involve working with children with disabilities who are unable to attend mainstream school, offering therapy programmes and individual support plans which parents and caregivers can implement at home. Children who display barriers to learning in Grade R and Grade 1 or in ECD Centres are also identified and given support. “Where possible, we try and integrate children with disabilities into local ECD Centres and schools, who we support with inclusive learning programmes and educate teachers and practitioners on how to work with children with disabilities,” explains Makhosi.

“Inclusion is not about keeping children with disabilities separate and focusing on their barriers, but rather on addressing the barriers in society that exist, like inaccessible schools or ECD Centres, learning programmes which do not cater for all abilities, inaccessible transport systems etc. This is the social model of disability which Siyakwazi subscribes to,” explains Cathy, Director and Founder. “As a community-based organisation our aim is to work with what already exists, education and awareness serves as the foundation for this process.”

Feedback from parents who have worked with Siyakwazi has been encouraging; “Since Siyakwazi started to support my child, he can move with his stomach, fetch water, pronounce all family names and he can eat by himself. Thank you Siyakwazi.”

“We are honoured to have Lord Shinkwin as an ambassador for Siyakwazi, promoting what we do to an international audience. Our work is very dependent on donations from the private sector and each small amount goes a long way to helping us give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

For more information about getting involved please click on the link below: