Our FAVOURITE time of year!
Thursday the 21st of September, we hosted our Annual Celebration of Life for the 300 children that reside on-site at the Ethembeni School for the Disabled. A date on our calendar that we – and the children – anticipate all year! Five years ago, our Chairlady watched their choir perform at a fundraising event for a Kenyan choir. She was absolutely moved to tears at how, despite their varying disabilities, these children got up on stage. Their voices were that of angels and they gave their all in the performance. After enjoying the performance and meeting with the Deputy Principal, we decided to take this school under our wing. While they are getting educated, they need to integrate back into society when they are of age, and their disabilities mean living on the school grounds, with little to no contact during each term with their families.
The aim of this annual project we’ve been running for the past five years is to inspire these children to CELEBRATE their lives and their uniqueness; let them play, feel the love from our volunteers and just be children – despite their daily challenges. Each year, we take the ‘Carnival’ to these children to celebrate their lives, a huge big ‘birthday party’ for all of them, rolled into a fun-filled afternoon of love and laughter. At the same time, we ask the school to provide us with any items these children need that aren’t covered by any social grants or budgets and try to help wherever we can.
Covering the basics
One of the biggest highlighted needs for the children is always toiletries; from adult nappies for the wheelchair-bound children and sanitary pads for the young girls to everyday items we take for granted: toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, lotion and powder. This year the school asked if we would be able to help give each child new SCHOOL SOCKS – even at R20 a pair, they are unaffordable to most of the children. Another one of their highlighted plights this year is for NEW SINGLE BED sheets. With the children’s disabilities, a lot are incontinent and the continuous washing and bleaching has the sheets in tatters more quickly than most.
This year, we were also joined by ex-pupil Hlengiwe Goge – who gave a heartfelt motivational speech to inspire and encourage the children to DREAM BIG! We are SO incredibly grateful to sponsors: Araujo Attorneys, Buckman Laboratories, Debonairs, Dis-Chem, E4 Legal Studio, H2O, KEY Group, Rodel, Splash, Twinsavers and each and every single person, company and team that donated towards this event – funds, goods and TIME!
It was the BEST day for all the children! Not only tons of fun at the carnival, rocking with great music thanks to Lloyd Paul, popcorn, rides, candy floss, balloons, face-painting, PIZZA, ice-lollies and juice, but with all the incredible support, we were also able to bless the children and the school with:
- Nearly 2000 toilet rolls
- Clothes for the school
- Five brand new Braille Machines
- 300 brand new fitted sheets
- 900 pairs of brand new socks (3 pairs each!)
- Stationery packs
- Goodie bags filled with toiletries and treats
- Sanitary pads for the girls
- Adult nappies for the wheelchair-bound children
- Sunblock for the children with albinism
AND the sun shone brightly allowing for some beautiful outdoor play for the first time in three years!