St Thomas Launches Disability Month
The Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) launched the Disability Month at St Thomas Deaf School, which is under the King William’s Town District on Wednesday, 9 November 2016.
From November 3rd until December 3rdhas been selected as the Disability Month in South Africa, to promote awareness about disability issues.
December 3rdhas been commemorated as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the National Disability Rights Awareness day. As a commitment to the Disability Month, theECDoE in collaboration with United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) will distribute sanitary towels to the special schools around the province.
Explaining the purpose of the launch,Mr SelwynBruiners, Deputy Director at Special Programmes Unit (SPU) said the democratic government has vowed to take disability as one of its key focus areas with the aim to ensure that people living with disabilities get equal opportunities as able bodied persons.
“November as been put aside to honour and celebrate such promises,” Bruiners said.“Government introduced an equity policy, where 2% of employees both in the private and the public sector must be people living with disabilities”.
He confirmed that the percentage has now been increased to 7%.
“The department has created accessibility of education to special children and has provided transport and favourable learning environment for them.”
He encouraged learners to equip themselves with the education provided to them and he said they should understand that they qualify to any opportunities such as bursaries, dreams and goals just like anyone else.
“It is our wish to see you in future as entrepreneurs, doctors andlawyers as there is nothing standing in your way.”
Mr Edgar Khathsaza, King William’s Town Acting District Director appreciated the teachers at the school for ensuring that quality learning is accessible to the learners and that the talents of leaners are being recognised. He affirmed that teachers are the agents that are to administer that the leaners receive what is best and that the environment is receptive to the needs of the learners.
“I am here as part of my responsibility to ensure that learners are well taken care of and you receive the attention you deserve, to show that you are not just a statistics, but important to us and to the future,” Khatshaza said.
“You can make a difference and contribute to our economy as tomorrow’s leaders. My disability does not define me. You need to be proud and not be shy about who you are. Never feel less valuable, you have joined the society as you are, you did not choose to be who you are. Know that you matter,” the Acting District Director articulated.
“I have been touch by the talent you displayed when you were performing the dance for us”, he concluded. St Thomas learners kept the visitors entertained with different types of dances.
Learner Representative, Ms Sisipho Dumsesaid it is a special privilege to be part of what has happened in their school and that as leaners they appreciate the gesture especially the girl children who have received the gifts.
“The father who said we are important has touched us and we will feel important all the time. I think God will make you come back to our school again, thank you”, she said.
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