Cape Town - Donate and put a smile on the faces of autistic and other physically challenged children from Eerste River and the surrounding area on Mandela Day on July 18.
An autism mom, Carmen Snyders, is hosting a high-tea party themed: “Mandela Day for Our Special Heroes” to raise funds and collect donations to spoil more than 100 disabled children at Future World on July 9 at 4pm. The event is open to all women, and guests will be treated to finger food and cookies with the menu theme “The Great Gatsby”. Entry is R150 per person.
The funds will go towards the first Mandela Day hosted for differently abled children in the community. Snyders plans to have a fun-filled day with a variety of giveaways to make the children feel special and included.
“I need to raise at least R9 000 that would cover a hall, food, winter starter kit as well as goody bags. All children, irrespective of their disability, love gifts.”
She encourages the public to make a separate donation of scarves, beanies, socks and gloves for the winter starter pack as she said the money will cover the cost of the entire event.
Snyders is on a mission to raise awareness about autism. She took on this initiative in April this year after she became weary of the stigma and lack of knowledge about caring for the disabled society. She realised the need for such initiatives after her son, Carter Snyders, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and she had no idea what it meant for her.
“I was in the dark, a space I don’t wish for anyone and wouldn’t want any child to feel like a burden or excluded. It is for this reason I constantly try to create a fun space of awareness and acceptance for these kids,” said Snyders.
Commending Snyders, Toneil Stoltenkamp, a resident, said: “I’ve worked with dyslexic kids and even that is challenging, yet my experience with differently abled kids has mostly been with Carter and I tell Carmen on a daily basis that I would not have been able to deal with a super smart (child) like Carter and his differently abled friends (if it wasn’t for her).”
Melissa-Jane Baron, a parent who has been supporting Snyders’s initiatives since her first public event in April, added: “She is actually doing an amazing job by raising awareness for autism. In our community most people didn’t understand autism and from the first event Carmen hosted she is definitely changing that. I have a 15-year-old daughter, Tamika, who along with her friends help Carmen with the little ones and it opened up their eyes to how blessed they are not to be challenged in any way.”