Mthimkulu Stimulation Centre for disabled children in Soweto, South Africa

Children with disabilities

South African society still regards children with disabilities as incapable, ill and a burden on society. In other words, they represent a 'problem' to be dealt with separately from other children's issues.
More than 80% of black children with disabilities live in extreme poverty in inhospitable environments. They have very poor access to appropriate health care facilities and early childhood development opportunities.

When born into families of poor socio-economic backgrounds, such children frequently grow up believing that their disabilities are an economic and social curse and burden on their families. As a result, they often perceive themselves to be worthless.”

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech,
For you help us to know that if we persevere,
We can be understood.
Blessed are you who walk with us in public places
And ignore the stares of strangers,
For in your companionship,
We find havens of peace.
Blessed are you who never bid us to 'Hurry up!',
And more blessed are you
Who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us,
For often we need time rather than help.
Blessed are you who stand beside us
As we ender new and untried ventures,
For our failtures will be outweighed
By the times we surprise ourselves and you.
Blessed are you who ask for our help,
For our greatest need is to be needed.
Blessed are you when you assure us
That the one thing that makes us individuals
Is not in our peculiar muscles,
Nor in our wounded nervous systems,
Nor in our difficulties in learning,
Nor any exterior difference,
But is in our inner, personal, individual self
Which no infirmity can diminish or erase.