GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Plettenberg Bay Primary and Kwanokuthula Primary School benefited from a project by the Western Cape Education Department to make the schools wheelchair accessible.
Thirteen learners in the Eden and Central Karoo Education District were identified in February last year as wheelchair users or learners who experience physical barriers to learning.
According to Roger Jacobs, the district's chief education specialist for Learner Support and Specialised Learner and Educator Support (SLES), these learners were in nine different schools, none of which was fully wheelchair accessible.
After consultation with Plettenberg Bay and Kwanokuthula Primary and their governing bodies, these two schools' accessibility was upgraded with money provided by the Western Cape Education Department for accessible bathrooms and fixed ramps to improve access to classes, the halls, play areas and sport grounds.
"A whole team of specialists came on board in November 2018 to assist the senior district therapist, Debbie Badenhorst, with this project. Brian Salter, architect, and Dominique de la Croix, quantity surveyor, drew up the plans and handled the costing. An initial site visit was done in order to determine the needs of each of the schools. Construction started in May this year and was completed by the end of June."
With the completion of these schools, construction moved to Beaufort West where three more schools are being upgraded. Thereafter, five more schools in the Eden and Central Karoo Education District will be made accessible. Eden Developments, with Dominique de la Croix at the helm, played a vital role in the overall management of this project.
"The learners, parents, school staff and department officials involved, have enormous gratitude and look forward to more collaboration in the future," said Jacobs.
The eight-year-old Mivuyo Tyanase from Plettenberg Bay Primary is one of the children who will benefit greatly from the upgrading project. He suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital joint contracture in two or more areas of the body, and is unable to use his hands. He writes with his mouth and is wheelchair bound.
Mivuyo recently started using Smart Nav, a computer system that allows him to navigate and control his computer. His school and the Sabrina Love Foundation have done a lot to support him. He received a powered chair for mobility, a full-time classroom facilitator and a set of portable ramps for access to classes.
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