There are more than 500 000 children with disabilities in South Africa who are not attending school, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA)

Potchefstroom - There are more than 500 000 children with disabilities in South Africa who are not attending school.

This is according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Tshwaraganang Daycare Centre for the disabled in the North West township of Ikageng, is home to more than 35 disabled youth, ranging from ages 14 and 26, most of whom have no formal education.

The centre was established in 1993 and is the only disability facility looking after children older than 13 in Ikageng.

Only a few of the children, who are physically and mentally disabled, received primary education at various special schools across Potchefstroom. No high school caters for children with special needs in Ikageng, so most either drop out of school or go to the Tshwaraganang Centre.

Charles Molutsi, the centre’s manager, told Health-e News that due to lack of funds it was difficult for the centre to cater for the educational needs of the children.

“We would like to see these children getting proper education, but with lack of funds, it's difficult,” he said, adding that the only source of the centre’s income was from money it received from the children's monthly fees.

“The contributions from the children is not enough to cover the rent, food and cleaning equipment,” he said.

There are no activities for the children, who arrive at the centre at 8am and leave at 5pm.

Tebogo, 17, who has been at the centre for several years, said he would like to write and play soccer during the day, but there is no one to teach them to write or coach them to play soccer.

“I only know how to write my name. I would love to learn more and know how to write my surname and more words. I enjoy playing soccer, but there's nothing to do here because there’s no one to assist us.”

Molutsi hopes that funding from the public and private sector will assist the centre so that the youth there can receive their basic right to education. 

ANA-Health-e News