23 September 2022, Bombela – Mpumalanga: Engaging at the unveiling of the newly-built Hlayisani Disability Centre of Hope, community members of Khumbula Village expressed their gratitude for this multipurpose centre.
One of them was Richard Nkosi, a 59-year-old who is wheelchair bound. “This facility is one of the kind and it will be beneficial for not only this community but the whole of Mpumalanga because it even has sleeping facilities for those who would be travelling from far to seek professional
assistance,” he said.
His views were echoed by Solomon Sandleni (49) who was further impressed by the fact that the centre will have a permanent social worker stationed there to service both the disabled and enabled. “Although the centre is specifically for persons with disabilities, I think the mission to also allow our fully-enabled family members to seek assistance is thoughtful. Looking after a disabled person can be traumatic,” he said.
In the build-up to Social Development Month in October, a service-delivery campaign to impact on the lives of poor South Africans through outreach programmes, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mme Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, today, unveiled the Hlayisani Disability Centre of Hope to residents of Khumbula Village in Mpumalanga.
Accompanied by the Enhlanzeni District Municipality MMC Cllr Selina Sekgobela,
representatives from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), MTN, local Traditional
Leadership and stakeholders, the Deputy Minister handed over the first phase of the
Hlayisani Centre of Hope, which will benefit persons residing in Khumbula Village and
remote areas around Mpumalanga Province.
The centre, which operates as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), approached the NLC to assist with the construction of a multipurpose disability centre of excellence.
The centre will be utilised for provision of rehabilitation, early childhood development, sports and recreation as well as skills development services.
In addition, services provided by the Hlayisani Centre of Hope will include information on government support services for persons with disabilities and platforms to enable them to apply for various public services positions. This is the first disability centre of its kind in the province of Mpumalanga.
“The Department of Social Development understands the unique barriers and
challenges that people with disabilities face and is committed to providing leadership in
fostering an inclusive society that values its members in a fair manner,” said the Deputy
Minister affirming that such initiatives require champions within the Community.
Pastor Maria Muhari, the founder and chairman of the board of Hlayisani, expressed why Hlayisani holds a special place in her heart and why she gave up 8 hectares of her own family land for this establishment to be built. “After I was raped at the age of 16 by transgressors in this community where I grew up, I vowed not to ever return but as I grew up, although violated, I decided to ensure that I initiate a place of refuge for victims of Gender-Based Violence. This centre will restore dignity for many children and youth who remain hidden from communities because of their disability,” she said.
During Social Development Month, the department aims to enhance its commitment by reaching out to communities in need of social services through a portfolio approach which integrates services of its two entities - the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the National Development Agency (NDA).
By bringing together government, the private sector and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to share service delivery responsibilities - the department has a vision of inclusive growth that binds all sectors to strive towards a goal of breaking barriers. The NLC, represented by Mr Mzwandile Ngubane, affirmed that NLC would play its role in creating a better South Africa for all. “We are deliberate and intentional in ensuring that development takes place where people are. Development must be accessible to avoid people having to travel long distances to access help,” he said urging the youth and the broader community to take the opportunity and reach out to them to apply for funding
towards projects to uplift their communities.
MTN also pledged their support for the Hlayisani Centre of Hope and will in the near future install interactive white boards and donate laptops and projectors. They gifted the centre with modems to connect up to 30 people and 24 months’ network connectivity which will enable online training.
The first phase of this disability centre comprises assessment rooms, training centres, a conference room, a kitchen and fully fitted bedrooms to service community members from surrounding remote villages.
The department continues to provide services to people with disabilities including
developing the necessary policies, mainstreaming disability in the department’s
programmes and implementing empowerment and awareness-raising projects. This is in line with the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which embraces and calls for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
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