Ndwedwe disability centre putting children first

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu will on Friday unveil a fully-fledged disability development centre in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Nombuso Disability Development Centre was built and equipped with specialised facilities, through a strategic partnership with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and MTN SA Foundation.

In 2016, the Department of Social Development and ACSA embarked on a Centre Transformation Project, called Izingane Ku Qala "Children First".

Although the project is focusing on ensuring that disabled persons are accommodated for at community centres, it specifically ensures that children between the ages of 0 - 5 with disabilities have access to inclusive Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, once their developmental needs have been established. 

The project, through community mobilisation, also champions disability awareness programmes and parent empowerment.

It further identifies children with disabilities between the ages of 0 - 8 years that are not enrolled in any formal ECD programmes, and channels them to existing community-based programmes.

Section 28 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa protects the rights of all children. These rights underlie all decision-making with regard to legislation, policies and programmes in South Africa. 

Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) requires of States Parties to:

  • Take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children;
  • Ensure that the best interests of the child be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children with disabilities; and
  • Ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children and be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realise that right.

The National Development Plan 2030 also requires the Department of Social Development to systematise guidelines, norms and standards to ensure that they take into account the needs of children with disabilities in all communities.

The Disabled Children's Action Group (DICAG) - an organisation of parents of disabled children, was brought on board as a major partner in order to ensure implementation of White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WPRPD) Strategic Pillar 6, which is about strengthening of the representative voice of persons with disabilities. – SAnews.gov.za