IPL aids South African school for children with disabilities

May 16th, 2009 - 9:20 am ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Bloemfontein, May 16 (IANS) Of the many schools who have benefited from the Indian Premier League II (IPL) being played in South Africa, the Bartimea Combined School here has probably benefited most.

As part of a project to plough something back into education for the communities in the cities where IPL games are played, four schools in need in the vicinity of each host city are identified to receive 100,000 rands for a specifically dedicated scholarship fund.

On Friday it was the turn of Bartimea Combined School from Thaba Nchu, some 60 km from here, to get a boost for the 446 learners, many of whom are visually or hearing impaired.

Headmistress Joyce Thophela said many of her learners struggle to communicate and even study: “It’s very sad; some of our learners feel alienated.

“The study material doesn’t meet their needs, even in their own homes they aren’t able to engage with their parents or other members of the community. Sometimes they don’t want to go home after school because they feel so isolated.”

But now there’s hope for these learners, as the 100,000 cash injection from the IPL will be used to purchase a braille machine, which will allow the school to produce study material that is better suited to the learners’ needs.

“Apart from study material what we urgently need to do is produce a sign language book so learners are able to express themselves. And we can also give this book to parents, so they too can learn and properly communicate with their children,” added Thopela.

Overjoyed at the IPL donation, Thopela said the school had experienced huge problems with fundraisng previously: “We serve a poor, remote area. Unemployment here is high, communities simply don’t have the money to help the school.

“This donation is just what we needed and will go a long way to helping our students with their studies and interaction with the community.”

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