It was a memorable day for Noluthando School for the Deaf when the Department of Social Development in partnership with MTN Foundation donated a lab to the school on Friday April 13.
The lab contains 22 tablets, an interactive board and is designed in a such way that people living with autism are comfortable using it.
As part of its social relief initiative, the department also donated 83 packs of school uniforms to four other primary schools as well as Nolunthando.
Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, said the last time she had been at the school was to open another lab, but at the time she had not known that there were also autistic pupils at the school.
Because that lab was not suited to the needs of the autistic pupils, she said, she felt obliged to ensure the school had a lab which catered to their specific requirements.
Ms Bogopane-Zulu said technology could enhance the learning abilities of austic children.
Responding to a question about the discrimination faced by disabled people and children, Ms Bogopane-Zulu said discrimination was related to behaviour and a belief system and was not something that the government could easily combat. She urged the community to change their behaviour and attitude towards people living with disabilities. This, she said, was the only way that discrimination can be defeated.
“I’m visually impaired and (it doesn’t mean that) because I’m deputy minister I don’t experience discrimination. I experience it every day. I fight for my co-existence and it’s a daily fight. I’m also a parent of two disabled daughters who are visually impaired.”
School principal Ayanda Ncinana, said according to the country’s constitution, all children should be provided with the basic educational tools and must not feel excluded because of their disabilities.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said the lab would help the school improve their results.
Parent Abeniza Snyman said it was critical that children with special educational needs were provided with learning tools and he was glad that the children now had access to a lab that best suited their challenges.