Vuyiswa Mguldlwa is a Community Disability Worker (CDW) from the Ngcwanguba area and she first met Nosipho Nkosi, who has an intellectual disability (ID), in April 2014.
People with ID can and do learn new skills if they have access to the right resources, but they learn them more slowly. These resources are more readily available in urban areas and unfortunately, people with ID in rural areas are often excluded from the mainstream society because their family and community are ill-equipped and uneducated to help. There are varying degrees of intellectual disability, from mild to profound.
Someone with ID has limitations in two areas. The first is intellectual functioning. Also known as IQ, this refers to a person’s ability to learn, reason, make decisions, and solve problems and the second is adaptive behaviours. These are the skills necessary for day-to-day life, such as being able to communicate effectively, interact with others, and take care of oneself.
When Vuyiswa first met Nosipho, she was lonely, isolated and had no friends. She didn’t play an active role either in her household or community activities.
Nosipho and her family’s lives have changed dramatically since Vuyiswa started working with her. Nosipho has made a friend, Vuyokazi Mpehla (in the front of the picture) and they spend time together and even collect firewood from the nearby forest together. She is finally participating in community events and regularly attends church with her family.
Nosipho now feels she has a purpose, and says that not only has Vuyiswa helped her, but the Groups for people with intellectual disabilities at Zithulele, have also helped her to gain the confidence she needed to make friends and help at home.
Vuyokazi’s story is very similar to Nosipho. She also struggled to make friends and people didn’t want to talk to her because she struggles to talk. Her life has also turned around since she and Nosipho have become friends and she also attends church.