Monthly Archives: November 2013

Visiting the Not So Helpless: #Places to visit

Our family had an awesome time out with disabled kids this weekend.

There was a flea market at the school for kids with special needs just across our house.

This is a school and home for the physically and mentally challenged called “Gateway Village”

My kids love going to such events because of the variety of activities, the junk food (yes its normally non nutritive) and of course the chance to pressurise and torture their parents into giving into the pressure to buy “new toys”.

My 4+ year old is especially adapt at telling me that I cannot say no because whatever she wants is “only a few dollars, 100 at most” even though we use the rand as a currency_thank you cartoon network.

Today’s fair however was extremely special.

We have never spent time with people with disabilities and this was a marvelous revelation and experience for all of us.

The entertainment was wonderful, mainly chareographed dancing by the children, I’m guessing the groups ranged from 4 to 18 years. The DJ was right on the money with the music, a mix of current and yesteryear, mostly the 70’s, think Meryl Streep in Mama Mia.

It was somethin special seeing these kids who have cognitive and physical difficulties work at keeping in step with the beat and remembering choreography. Sometimes it worked, others not but it was all adorable.

What really impressed me though is what the kids are doing in art classes.

And one of the things to appreciate first and foremost is that everything in art class is made of recyled material. They do ask for donations towards this so if you live in Johannesburg you would be doing them a great favour by delivering your wooden coat hangers, fancy bottles, tins, boxes of any material, spare fabric, fancy paper, wood cutoffs, and the list goes on forever. 

Donations to:  011 958 0384 or email chanelle@gatewaysociety.co.za

As you enter the large shedlike place that serves as an art studio you just see tables upon tables of arts and crafts.

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Recycled plastic cooldrink bottles made into traditional decorative figurines possibly for use as door stoppers.

I thought they were goods which had been donated when i first walked in but as I got closer i saw some they looked more homemade than shop items but they were beautiful none the less., 

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Looking at what these kids worI appreciated two things:

One, that although the disabled have more challenges to deal with in life than any able bodied person, that does not take away from their potential to achieve what they set their minds to.

Two, the people who work patiently and with love with these childres are nothing short of being saints. I had the privilege of speaking to three of them and you can just sense the love and pride they have for their work.

I think the brief that they had on the letters their handouts was quite apt:

excerpt “GEC strives to find and nurture the hidden talents within our Villagers to improve their confidence and t give them a sense of pride and self worth.”

I promised to put up a page with some of the items they had on display (particularly the post cards and calenders) as part of the online shop here to get more sales. You can imagine they need the funding.

But for now I’ll show you some of the pictures I took with my phone. They are not great quality but you’ll get the idea and see why i was blown away.

One of the teachers impressed on me that they only do the writing but everything else is done by the kids.

I hope you like what you see as much as I did.

Until next time.

Wendy

661 658172682 684 680 675 665 685

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