About Bizweni Centre

Bizweni runs as an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre for children with disabilities ranging from the ages of 2 years old up to 18 years old. Our school caters for all types of disabilities from severely disabled, where everything needs to be done for the child, to moderately disabled where the goal is to prepare the child for mainstream school. Due to many factors there are a number of children whom we have never been able to successfully place elsewhere. We have kept these youngsters on at our centre, which has resulted in children being age inappropriate for an early education centre, and has motivated us into planning the expansion of our centre to incorporate a Skills Development Program. The majority of children coming to the centre are from disadvantaged communities who have no other facilities available to them in the area and would as a result have to stay at home if it were not for the centre.

We offer an ECD education, and where possible the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in Grade R and the National Early Learning Development Standards (NELDS) in Grade RR.

What the Centre Provides

  • A Special Education and Care centre that provides developmental programs to children with disabilities from all communities
  • Children with access to transport
  • Children with individualised assessments
  • Specific programs for each child
  • Children with access to specialised services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and remedial therapy
  • Ongoing skills and development training programs for all member of staff
  • Ongoing practical support and education to parents and caregivers
  • Advocacy activities to raise awareness of the needs of children with disabilities within the local communities and encourage integration

About the Cause

Disability affects hundreds of millions of families in developing countries. Currently around 10 per cent of the total world’s population, or roughly 650 million people, live with a disability. In most of the OECD countries, females have higher rates of disability than males.

Having a disability places you in the world’s largest minority group. As the population ages this figure is expected to increase. Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, according to the UN Development Program (UNDP). The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged. Statistics show a steady increase in these numbers.

The Child Health Policy Institute reported in 2001 that “the Children’s Institute, based within the University of Cape Town suggests that a working figure of 3-4% prevalence rate should be used plus a 1% prevalence of children infected with HIV/AIDS. Using these figures, it is evident that there are well in excess of half a million children with disabilities in South Africa in need of appropriate services if they are to realise their rights.” A staggering figure considering that many families do not report the disabilities of their children because of the accompanying stigma. Many papers also report on the growth of disabilities in Africa due to malnutrition, HIV, wars and poverty.

Due to the lack of statistics on children with disabilities in South Africa we are unable to provide statistics in the areas in which we operate suffice to say that we are the only Centre for Children with disabilities in the Helderberg Basin who has an open door policy, especially to the severely disabled children of the disadvantaged communities. No child with a disability is turned away for financial reasons, as we seek to help the poorest of the poor.