The Ezibeleni School for the Physically Challenged is located on the main road through Thokoza, a bustling hive of taxis, hawkers and commuters. They are the recipient school of the 2014 Gift To Give project – an annual Primedia Outdoor CSI initiative.
This year it was decided to provide the learners at the school with brand new school shoes and, in order to do that, their shoe sizes had to be determined.
While this may have been a simple task of asking teachers and parents to provide the necessary information, it was decided to acquire pairs of shoes from Buccaneer in all the possible sizes and pay the school and learners a personal visit.
We arrived at the school and met with the principal who gave us an overview of the school and a synopsis of the challenges facing the Ezibeleni learners. Ranging from minor spasticity to severe physical and mental limitations, the children are however, just normal, mischievous youngsters, who, for the most part have a palpable zest for life, including dollops of humour.
Having measured up all available feet, we were introduced to Mr Bham, a visually impaired physiotherapist with some very enlightening insights to share.
We were given a clear picture of the plight of some the learners, especially those in need of individually customised boots and calipers which cost a small fortune. There is also a chronic shortage of qualified technicians in this field that exacerbates the bottleneck in the supply chain of these aids.
All that remains is to collect the shoes from the supplier and deliver them to these special children and judging by the warm reception we received the first time round we can look forward to another rewarding day of friendly smiles.