Get into the festive spirit with Christmas Carols at Groot Constantia

The Symphony Choir of Cape Town has joined forces with CBM South Africa to present a festive concert with a cause – benefiting children affected by poverty at the Alta du Toit School in Kuils River who are on the Peninsula School Feeding Association’s (PSFA) feeding programme. 

CBM SA is the South African member organisation of a Christian international development movement, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world irrespective of race, gender or religious belief. 

Based on its core values and more than 100 years of professional expertise, CBM SA addresses poverty both as a cause and as a consequence of disability; and works in partnership with local and national civil society organisations to create an inclusive society for all.

It is fast becoming a tradition that CBM South Africa hosts an annual fundraising event with a talented South African choir and 2019 is no different! 

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Presidential support for disability

On Tuesday, 26 February, the Presidential Working Group on Disability (PWGD) met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who committed government to joining the disability sector of South Africa on a journey towards the full empowerment of people with disabilities.

CBM South Africa board member, Alex Msitshana, who is also a member of the PWGD attended the meeting and explained: “The disability sector spoke with one voice and were united in our action plans. We will now monitor implementation and work with the President and all government departments to make sure that people with disabilities are not left behind.”

The disability sector was represented by: Action in Autism, Epilepsy South Africa, the Association of Hearing Loss Accessibility and Development; Disability Workshop Development Enterprise, the Deaf Federation of South Africa, the Africa Disability Alliance, the Black Management Forum, the Albinism Society of South Africa, the Paralympic Committee, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) South Africa, Down Syndrome South Africa and Disabled People South Africa.

Other stakeholders included the Albinism Society of South Africa, the Institute for the Promotion of Disabled Manpower, the Disabled Children Action Group, the South African Federation for Mental Health, Kgalagadi People with Disabilities, Disabled Women South Africa, the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust, the Disability Association for South African National Military Veterans, Deaf Empowerment Firm;,BlindSA, the South African Deaf Youth Development Project;,the National Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy, the SA National Association of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons, disability veteran Ms Washiela Sait, the QuadPara Association of South Africa,the Global Mental Health Peer Review Network; and the South Africa Disability Development Trust.

Restoring Khululwa’s hearing

A hearing aid has made all the difference

Can you imagine being in school and not being able to hear the teacher? This was a daily reality for Khululwa Takana – very frustrating and demoralising.

She was really struggling academically, and her teachers were becoming very frustrated with her.

They thought she was being naughty and disruptive in class, but the problem was much more serious than that. At the end of each school year, Khululwa would receive a poor progress report, and on many occasions, she had to repeat the grade.

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Ovayo gets moving

A RAP good news story

Ovayo is just three years old and lives with her grandmother and five cousins, as her mother passed away when she was a baby. She has cerebral palsy and is a patient at the rehabilitation department at Zithulele Hospital.
Masixole Namate is a Community Disability Worker (CDW) from the Rural Ability Programme (RAP) in her area. When he first met Ovayo, she was developmentally behind, was ‘bum-shuffling’ around at home, and not able to pull herself up. Although she’s unable to communicate verbally, Masixole has helped her to find a way to communicate her needs with her family.

Another good news story from RAP

Gideon gets to enjoy the sunshine

Mr Gideon Cezula is 93 years old and was confined to his bed because his daughter was unable to move him and he didn’t have access to a wheelchair. He really missed being able to go outside in the fresh air and feel the sun on his face.
Nosakhiwo Blayi, one of the  RAP Community Disability Workers in the area helped the family to apply for a wheelchair. This has made a huge difference to Gideon and his daughter, because when he was confined to his bed, he was just waiting to die. Now he has more mobility and can do one of his favourite things, which is to sit outdoors enjoying the sunshine.
In rural areas, being confined to your bed, can be socially inhibiting as most socialising happens outdoors. Gideon wouldn’t have been able to visit his neighbours and friends. Having a wheelchair he is now able to socialise and doesn’t feel so alienated and cut off from his community.

Kuhle is ready to take on the world

Kuhle gets help for her club feet

Kuhle is a gorgeous little girl, aged 4, who lives in a rural area of the Eastern Cape. She was born with a condition called clubfoot.

Clubfoot (or talipes equinovarus) is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot.  Most types of clubfoot are present at birth and are referred to as being congenital. It may present in either one or both feet. In almost half of affected children, both feet are involved and this is the case with Kuhle.

Clubfoot is painless for young babies, but it can eventually cause discomfort and cause noticeable disability. Left untreated, clubfoot does not straighten itself out. The foot will remain twisted out of shape, and the affected leg (in the case of only one leg being affected) may be shorter and smaller than the other. These symptoms become more obvious and more of a problem as the child grows, including finding shoes that fit and being able to participate in normal play.

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Local primary school gives land for gardening project

The Rural Ability Programme’s community disability workers (CDWs) work with a group of 15 people who have a range of physical and intellectual disabilities and at the beginning of 2016, a group of patients approached the CDWs with an idea. They wanted to start their own vegetable garden.

A member of the school governing body of a local primary school mentioned that there was a large piece of land at the school that had been designated for a garden, but had never been used. He encouraged RAP CDW, Buzeka Nkanunu, to meet with the school’s principal to request the use of the land for a community garden.

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Challenging invisible disabilities

The right medication makes all the difference
Malusi Mahobe (39) has mental and physical disabilities. Before the Rural Ability Programme’s Tabisa Hlalendlini started working with him and his family, Malusi spent most of his time walking around in the community and his behaviour made some members of the community uncomfortable . With Tabisa’s help, he is now on regular medication and life is much better.

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Kwakhanya getting the help he needs

Kwakhanya learning to talk and sit

Kwakhanya Tshidi was just a few months old when Vuyiswa Mgudlwa, a Community Disability Worker (CDW) from the Rural Ability Programme (RAP) visited his house for the first time. Doctors had warned his mother, Nondilile, that he may have complications due to his difficult birth, but these were never fully explained to her until Vuyiswa came to see her and Kwakhanya in their home.
Kwakhanya was struggling to talk, play and sit. After assessing him and talking to his mother, Vuyiswa referred him for occupational therapy at the nearby clinic and also to a speech and language therapist.
Since that visit and after spending time working on the recommended therapies, he is happy and really doing well. He able to say a few words, sit on his own and play with the other children in his home.
The family is extremely thankful to Vuyiswa for her help and for referring their child to the occupational therapists, because they did not understand that he has a disability and that with the right treatment, he could be helped.

Nomthandazo gets a new lease on life

Another good news story from CBM South Africa

Nomthandazo Ngqeleni (57) from Lutubeni in the Eastern Cape, had been receiving a daily injection for mental illness since she was 16. This medication affected her ability to function on a day-to-day basis because she was always tired and slept most of the day.
Nosakhiwo Blayi, a Community Disability Worker (CDW), met Nomthandazo at the end of last year and after speaking to both her and her sister about the history of her illness, it sounded more like she had an intellectual disability, as she showed no signs of a psychiatric condition.
The problem started when Nomthandazo failed academically at school and she wasn’t able to count or understand money. She had also never shown any aggression towards her family. The CDW referred Nomthandazo to the doctor at the clinic for a review of her medical history and medication. After reviewing her case, the doctor agreed that Nomthandazo should stop taking the medication. Today, Nomthandazo has a new lease on life and is happy and active – no more sleeping away the whole day.