Chair’ished Children is a beautiful project that has provided hundreds of specialised wheelchairs (buggies) to impoverished children born with cerebral palsy in deep rural South Africa.
This initiative takes us to areas which are remote and inaccessible, where there are so few resources and caring for a profoundly disabled child is not easy at all.. The sight of an elderly caregiver carrying a disabled teenager on her back is disturbing, and we seek to remedy that.
Most of the children we fit into buggies have waited years for a mobility device, some die waiting.
We partner with The Paige Project and Rotary Club of Rosebank in a this 3-day humanitarian outreach The Paige Project gives us buggies which have been condemned and we renovate them entirely. Rotary Club of Rosebank assists us with the renovations prior to leaving. Both NGO’s accompany us in fitting the children on site.
We have fitted groups of children in deep rural KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.
We also provide buggies to individual children who live in informal settlements, in Gauteng who don’t qualify for a buggy – children who don’t have a South African birth certificate fall into this category.
We don’t hesitate to send pre fitted buggies across the border, and have sent to desperate children in rural Zimbabwe and Zambia.
By SAPeople Contributor – Jul 21, 2022
We pride ourselves on being a voice for the voiceless and advocates of Human Rights. As such, we are often called on to intervene on behalf of people who find themselves totally helpless, in hopeless situations. Many of them are foreign nationals and are fearful of being exposed. For those who live so inhumanely, days are spent in survival mode with little energy or time to think of ways out of the turmoil. Boikanyo the Dion Herson Foundation has spent many hours demanding that equality and dignity applies to the community we serve.
We consult with Chapter 9 organisations when authorities don’t act to assist crisis situations. In the past we have had to resort to this to assist caregivers with mental illness who were clearly having some sort of psychotic episode and needed to be stabilised. The children also need to be temporarily removed until the caregiver is well enough to return to the home.
We do not tolerate cruelty in any form, especially from institutions, towards special-needs children or adults. We don’t hesitate to report organisation and NGO’s to the relevant government department, and when necessary, send a complaint to a Chapter 9 organisations. We were called on to resolve an untenable situation in Freedom Park Soweto, where a school of 450 + children had no running water for drinking or to flush toilets for years. Their water storage jojo tanks were contaminated and children had become ill from drinking from them. We called in a journalist who covered the story and within a month, not only had we replaced the jojo’s, but the Department of Education had installed a borehole for the school.
Sometimes school principals know about sexual abuse in homes and do nothing about it. We find it totally unacceptable that crimes against our children are perpetrated and no one is alerted. We have reported such crimes to the police in the area, and taken children to the Teddy Bear Clinic when schools have not done so themselves.
There are many tragedies we encounter whilst working in the community, one of the more heinous are those families who have had children vanish. When a child doesn’t return home one day, it is catastrophic.
We have built up a relationship with the South African Police Service Captain who heads the FCS Unit (Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences) attached to Protea South Police Station. We have been put in touch with the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), another level of assistance, in the hope that we could further assist families find trafficked children.
The families of the victims live in hell once something like this has happened. One mother told us that after her daughter of 7 didn’t come home one afternoon, her life fell apart. She wonders if Akani is cold at night or if she has enough to eat. One cannot imagine a tragedy as devastating as these little ones who just vanish without a trace.
Since early 2020, when Covid19 swept the world, the trauma that residents have endured in the informal shack-dwelling communities has skyrocketed. Children lost parents, grandparents, caregivers, and siblings. Unemployment is rife, and there is just no money to buy food.
There has been a staggering increase in assaults and abuse. Families are suffering terrible hardships.