There was a sense of appreciation when the multimillion rand Sheltered Employment Trust (NSET) facility was opened at Noluthando School for Learners with Special Needs in Khayelitsha last week.
Guests gathered at the school to officially open the facility and hand it over.
The Ackerman Family Educational Trust and Coca –Cola Peninsula Beverages contributed to the R2.5 million to build the facility at which pupils will be taught skills which will make them employable – and capable of creating their own work opportunities.
Wendy Ackerman from the Ackerman Family Educational Trust said she was pleased that the project had been completed.
Ms Ackerman said the establishment of the facility had been inspired by her disabled sister who had benefited from sheltered employment as well as an employee whose disabled child was always with her. It was this employee who opened her eyes to the fact that many parents had nowhere to send their disabled children for skills training.
“I feel very excited about the completion of this centre. The centre is open for people to learn and see what can be achieved. The centre will offer skills training needed by the pupils and perhaps by the community at large,” she said.
Rotary Club of Newlands representative, John Winship, said this was part of bigger project which aimed to build facilities for children living with autism, many of whom had limited work opportunities when they finished school.
He said this facility would be of tremendous benefit not only to the children but also their families who often spent a lot of time looking after them.
He said they have assembled a team that is establishing which skills training should be prioritised.
Coca Cola Peninsula Beverages commercial director, John Joubert, said in 2018 they had funded a treatment centre at the school and the following year, helped fund six classrooms. However, he said, there was no use building classrooms for autistic children but not ensuring there was a way to empower them for their future employment.