Soshad Centre is a non-profit organization based in Soshanguve, Block H. It aims to improve the lives of disabled and abled people, both young and old. The centre was formed in 2002 by the late Maria Rantho, who was a disabled parliamentary activist. Her vision of the organization was then implemented by Sello Kgopane, a disabled activist confined to a wheelchair.
The centre aims to improve the standard of living of the disabled in the community by offering them a place to call home along with various activities such as sewing, education and many others. The centre has became a second home to the disabled.
Violet Sebola, the administrator, who has worked at the centre since 1994 said that the centre faces financial difficulties to keep running. “We do not have enough equipment such as television for the youngsters,” said Sebola. She also added that some community members look down upon the centre as they have inexperienced staff members.
The Centre also offers activities for able people (people who are not physically disabled but are mentally disturbed) who for example suffer from down syndrome. “I have a 33-year-old son, who has been disabled his whole life. My son is Cerebral Palsy (CP) , which means he cannot move nor talk. It is through my son that I got to understand and love disabled kids and adults,” said Sebola.
One of the interns, Keleabetswe Mashabane, said that the centre’s mission is to change people’s mind-set. The centre aims to make people understand that people with disabilities are not outcasts rather they are a part of us and have their talents and personal attributes that they contribute to the world.
According to Keleabetswe, the activities offered by the Centre to the kids have been very helpful, both physically and mentally. “Most parents lock their disabled kids inside the house all the time. Here, they get to move around, play outside, acquire skills such as sewing and have concerts. Life here is normal,” said Keleabetswe. The Soshad Centre is improving people’s lives. They make people believe that disabled people are able people too and that they also belong to the community. “Parents should not be ashamed of their disabled kids as God gave them for a reason,” stated Sebola. The centre is for the whole community and everyone is welcome!
By: Ntombikayise Madlala.