In celebration of National Child Protection Week, children at a school for special needs can now enjoy swings and a roundabout custom-designed for wheelchair-bound learners.
Casual Day is an annual fundraising project that encourages people to dress differently for work for a day. To earn this right, they make a donation of R10 for the official Casual Day sticker. Proceeds benefit people with disabilities.
Through the campaign, wheelchair swings and a roundabout custom-designed for children in wheelchairs were installed at Basizeni Special School in eMbalenhle, Evander, in Mpumalanga. The playground equipment has brought much happiness to the pupils.
“They were purchased with the proceeds of last year’s Casual Day donations and are bringing joy to our wheelies,” said Mariette Botha, a Basizeni staffer.
The school was the top performer in the province on the day, raising R115 590 in donations from the public.
“A portion of the donations [is] utilised by the school and the remainder goes to create awareness of persons with disabilities countrywide. We are very proud that not only did we benefit but that we are able to make a contribution to the disability sector nationally. Our contribution was a significant R69 558.”
A better playground
The Casual Day funds have been put towards playground development and the school has already done some upgrades.
“I wish I could convey the joy on the faces of the children when they experience the swings for the first time,” Botha said. “As a teacher at Basizeni I feel humbled and privileged to be involved at this school. Our mission is to make a difference. Disabled learners and Differently abled learners at Basizeni School have many challenges, but with our new principal, Mrs Mirriam Rampai, at the helm we are prepared to face them.
“The school is 21 years old and needs maintenance inside and outside. The focus is on developing and creating classrooms, workshops, playground and sport environments with the necessary educational equipment, giving each learner the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential.”
Basizeni had positive, enthusiastic staff members and joyful pupils, she added. The only obstacle standing in the way of them achieving their vision was funding. [But] we are entering a new phase, revamping the campus and getting a bus.”
“It is a privilege to apply my expertise to improve the lives of young children with special needs,” said Louis Botha, the chairman of the school governing body. “We are committed to improving life skills to provide a space for every learner.”
Find your local Casual Day organisation and see how you can help. To support Basizeni School, call Mariette Botha on 082 459 1009.
This year, Casual Day is on Friday, 2 September, and the theme is “Up Your Game”. So get casual for a cause and help change lives one wheelchair at a time.