An NGO in Kuruman says it is increasing opportunities for intellectually challenged learners in the in the Northern Cape.

The NGO specializes in providing various vocational skills for people with learning disabilities for free. It currently has ninety seven students, and is run by two women who used their pension fund money to establish it.

The centre is not accredited, but it has agreements with stakeholders to provide training and certificates. Spotting a gap in the education system, the founders took the opportunity to fill it by establishing the centre.

“When we speak of disabled learners, they think of the physical disabled learners. They think about the blinds, they think about the hard hearing and speech problem, and all these three categories they reach tertiary level… only the intellectual who will never reach matric. So I think we have to consider them, and we need assistance from other departments to help the child to reach his or her goal,” said co-founder of the centre, Gakeinee Ntwagae.

However, the journey had also come with its own challenges.

“After the child has reached 18 years, we didn’t know where these children should go, so we thought of opening a centre like this one… being an NGO we started with a shanty at the school, so unfortunately the Department of Education requested us to stop with that,” said the centre’s founder, Kebuile Fredman.

Students have embraced the chance to be recognised and cherish the opportunity they have been given.

“This school helps me to be more active at home, and be willing to help with anything, it makes me happy to be who I am,” said leaner, Thandi Kesiamang.

Learners are admitted until the age of 35. They leave the centre fully equipped with much needed skills that can enable them to enter the job market.

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