Goal: R5,000.00 | Still Needed: R5,000.00 | Total Supporters So Far: 0 | Amount of People in Need: 80
If you’re looking for an example of how human nature can rise from the ashes and transform tragedy into hope, Emily Mogoai and Sarah Makhanya are it. After being retrenched from a school for the Disabled, Emily and Sarah could have melted into puddles thinking, ‘This shouldn’t have happened to me”, but they didn’t.
Instead, they took their arsenal of training and years of study, combined them with an intense passion for helping those who can’t help themselves, and – together with Jerry Netsimbone and Malcom Rhodes – formed Eyethu Centre for Disabled Children.
The centre is the only one of its kind in Mofolo, a sub-section of Soweto, and is a saving grace for the disabled children who reside here.
The team started small in 2004, with only 7 children and in the local church. Soon enough, a school in the area announced they were closing down due to lack of learners, and the founders jumped at the chance to secure more suitable premises.
By 2006, the closed down school became Eyethu’s premises, and they remain there to this day.
The centre’s team of 36 caregivers stimulates, soothes, and teaches 80 beneficiaries daily. 20 of these are permanent residents at the centre, while the other 60 are daycare students who leave for their homes at 2 pm.
All of Eyethu’s beneficiaries are severely disabled to the point of not being able to eat or go to the toilet by themselves. For the centre’s caregivers, the biggest goal is to treat these children, who are misunderstood by their community (and often their own parents) like the human beings they are.
Co-founder Emily, in her ever-cheerful voice, expresses how lucky the team feels to get so much help from their community. Kind hearts from Soweto and beyond, she tells, have come to assist with everything from helping to feed the children to planting a vegetable garden.
The families of Eyethu’s children pay monthly fees, but though these are enormous to the families who pay them, they aren’t nearly enough to cover the centre’s large expenses. A subsidy from the Department of Health is what enables them to survive, and covers the centre’s food expenses and stipends for its staff.
What Emily and the team dream of are to be able to afford therapists at their centre, which is currently impossible, and to replace their three buses – a crucial asset for Eyethu – which are over ten years old and struggle to start in the mornings.
Photographer: Sam Heavens from HEAVENS HOLDINGS / Heavens Aperture | Voice Artist: Mawande Ndywamb | Writer: Anè Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Children and Youth, Disability, Health