A centre for rehabilitation under the Eastern Cape Department of Social Department and Special Programmes honoured more than 50 physically challenged learners with certificates after having completed training on skills development.
The learners were trained for six months on skills such as welding, sewing and woodwork at the Enoch Sontonga Rehabilitation Centre situated in Qongqotha Village near King William's Town.
Speaking at the learners' farewell on Wednesday (27 June 2012), centre manager Thobeka Beja said they were delighted to have assisted these learners in skills development with some not having any educational background but showed great enthusiasm while at the centre. "Today we have come to celebrate their success and bid farewell to them as they go back to their homes," she said.
Beja said the group between ages of 18 and 45 came from different rural areas in the province and they wanted to develop themselves without feeling ashamed of their disabilities. "We can only hope that they will be able to go back to their communities and plough back what they have learnt to other community members or start their project in order to sustain their lives," said Beja.
One such learner who has completed training on woodwork is Siyabulela Majikela from Queenstown. Majikele could not hide his tears of joy when his name was called to receive the certificate. In an interview he said; "The training has taught me that in any situation one is in and in what disability one has, there's still an opportunity to grow and develop ones' skills." Majikela said by completing the training it will also motivate others who have disabilities to go out and do something.
"We need encouragement and support in order for us to do it because we cannot do it alone," he said. Majikela further encouraged others who have disabilities to apply at the centre. "It has been a worth-while six months and we will miss the centre that gave us a chance," said Majikela.
Enoch Sontonga Rehabilitation Centre emanated from the Ciskei government hence the place was initially called Nontsapo Rehabilitation Centre. People with disabilities, between ages of 18 and 45 are housed at the Centre and they are equipped with different skills such as gardening woodwork, sewing, and welding without any charge. In 1992, the Department of Social Development and Special Programme took over the center and is still serving the people with disabilities.
The next group of learners at the centre will now start in July 2012.