Disability Rights Awareness Month: Investment project targets need for early intervention

Disability Rights Awareness Month (November 3 – December 3) is a month of focusing on the needs and rights of people with disabilities.

In the Northern Cape, a capacity building project, funded by the SIOC Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT), that focuses on children with disabilities has been taking place since September 2019.

Implemented by the Uhambo Foundation on behalf of SIOC Community Development Trust, the project is delivering capacity building programmes; training; support services; resource development; awareness raising; advocacy; lobbying and policy development to support the empowerment of children with mobility devices, their parents, families, caregivers and communities; and to partner with and support other service providers engaged in these objectives to ensure that they receive quality information and resources.

The Northern Cape Department of Health (NCDoH) Rehabilitation team identified an increase in the number of children with cerebral palsy and an increased need to support young children with Early Child Development disabilities and early school going age in the province.

“The specific needs for this project were determined as capacity building support both for the NCDoH’s team as well as for Early Child Development (ECD) centre caregivers,” said Vusani Malie, CEO of SIOC-CDT.

“Stakeholder capacity building was therefore identified as vital to support referral to services.”

Uhambo Foundation’s experience in rural Northern Cape also identified a significant gap in community disability awareness and an understanding of resources or the need for early intervention.

The multi-million rand investment targets the entire Northern Cape province supporting the NCDoH efforts and will capacitate the current team of 38 therapists at the NCDoH over a three-year period.

It will also assist in donating mobility devices for the 149 known children currently on the NCDoH waiting list and 18 identified ECD Centres are receiving appropriate toys and training on inclusive learning through play for the practitioners.

In addition to above, a new therapist outreach vehicle has been sponsored by Kathu Solar Park.

“By providing outreach clinical services in conjunction with mentoring the NCDoH Rehabilitation Team, children currently in need of services will receive the support they need and the NCDoH team will build the skills, experience and confidence to support their needs going forward,” concluded Malie.