In a world of social norms and conformity, there are a select few individuals who stand out from the crowds. People who see the world in a different light, as they try to make their way through life.
These people have autism, down syndrome, muscular disorders, cerebral palsy and other disabilities which are often misunderstood by society. At times, these children cannot enter mainstream schools because of their respective disabilities.
So, what happens to them? Do they need to miss out on the adventures and experiences that school life has to offer?
Esperanza Special Needs School is a school that caters for these youngsters. Offering them the opportunity to pursue an education, while interacting with other children.
Currently, Esperanza Special Needs School has 62 children. Their disabilities ranging from autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, hearing and sight disorders, muscular disabilities, straight up to learning and behavioural problems.
Catering to a wide selection of children, why does Esperanza Special Needs School play such an important role in Newcastle?
“Without Esperanza Special Needs School, there is no other place for them to go. Often, these children only go to school and back home. Without the school, it would mean they would only sit at home all day,” says Jennifer Pillay, the school principal.
At the school, Jennifer says the children can socialise together and pursue their academics. “We see a lot of progress, in that children come out of their shell and become more confident. There are even children who were non-verbal when they arrived, and now they talk. There are some children who are eventually able to go to a mainstream school,” she says.
Those who are unable to go to a mainstream school will be taught life skills at Esperanza Special Needs School. This is to help equip them for life after school.
Despite the positive role the school plays in the community, the school isn’t government funded. Therefore, it relies heavily on the community’s generosity and fund-raising initiatives which assist in the running of the school.
One such fund-raising initiative is the school’s annual charity golf day, which will take place on Saturday, July 13.
“This is our eighth charity golf. Its purpose is to raise funds for the school. The monies assist the school if funds run low.”
As the school’s main fund-raising initiative, the charity golf day usually brings in a substantial sum of money. “If it wasn’t for the golf day, we would not always make it,” Jennifer says.
With the golf day taking place at Newcastle Golf Club this Saturday, the community is invited to support the day. Through the community’s support, a positive contribution can be made to the lives of children.
For more information on the Charity Golf Day or on Esperanza Special Needs School, Jennifer Pillay can be contacted on 078 648 3490.
To participate in the event, the entrance fee is R200 per person and Newcastle Golf Club can be contacted on 034 318 7200 to secure a spot.
Will you be teeing off for a worthy cause this weekend?