Parents of mentally and physically disabled children in Manenberg are excited about the new design of the Sherwood Park Special Care Centre.
The new centre will be built – at an estimated cost of R18 million – in Wye Road, Manenberg and will house 80 children living with mental and physical disabilities.
The care facility was established in Fourth Avenue, Sherwood Park in 1984, then housing just six disabled children.
However, the limited space restricts the amount of activities they would like to do with the children, said Nabieya Allie van Schoor, who has worked at the centre for 27 years.
The plan for the new building includes bathrooms which will be built between classrooms to make it easier for the children, especially those in wheelchairs, to get to them.
The idea was launched at the soil turning event on Saturday May 6, where founders, staff, parents and their children, and community members were present.
Abdul Galeem Jacobs, chairman of the care centre for the past 27 years, said construction would start in the next few months and that they were approaching sponsors to help with funding of the new building.
“Our parents are totally dependant on the school. We are urging the community to help us as well. They can even donate one brick; every little bit helps. The community has really kept this school alive and we want to thank them for the years of support,” he said.
At the moment there are 42 children, aged between 12 and 17, at the centre. They mainly come from Manenberg, Hanover Park, Heideveld, and Bonteheuwel.
The children are picked up by a driver with a vehicle modified to the special needs of the children, and are dropped off at home in the afternoon or picked up by their parents. They have a normal school day, from 8am until 3pm.
According to occupational therapist Gadija Da Costa, their daily activities include building with blocks, learning to use the jungle gym, hula hooping, and rolling the tyres, all of which helps to strengthen their muscles.
Sharon van der Lilly’s son Faygan who was born with cerebral palsy, has been at the centre for more than 13 years.
Ms Van Lilly said she was very excited about the new building.
“It’s important to have this facility in the community so that our children have a place to go to because some parents don’t have enough time for their children. At the centre they are able to be among other children,” she said.
Ms Allie van Schoor said that people can also help by sharing their skills at the centre as they are in need of professional help to guide carers.
For any donations, contact Rehana Flacks on 021 692 3700.