Our Work

Our work started in January 2012 with the school opening events in Kungwini. We had visited 5 schools to meet with the principals, educators (teachers) and learners (pupils) accompanied by the MEC of Gauteng, Mayor of Pretoria and his staff, members of the department of education and the school board members. The agenda was to do a need assessment at the schools for medical services.

Soon thereafter we were informed of a school for Learners with special education needs in Kungwini that were in need of help as learner progress over the past years was stagnant, and enrollment was rapidly climbing beyond its capacity. This led to the assistance given by KDF to the Sizanani Student Health Initiative project over the next 2 months (see report). Learners with mild intellectual, adaptive and communication disorders were the first group to be thoroughly assessed by Dr. Hussain for medical, social and developmental needs, with the aid of their educators. This resulted in a rapid evaluation and management plan to improve the wellbeing of the learners who were afflicted by medical illnesses, developmental delays, physical, emotional and social difficulties.

The application of these outcomes was challenging. Health services are costly and unsubsidized by the state. Recruiting medical professionals stalled; some who volunteered their services backed out. Much needed laboratory services were declined by privately owned laboratories as they do not do any ‘pro bono’ work. KDF decided to fund these services and recruited a local physician to visit the school biweekly and maintain the services. The educators were praised and encouraged to continue their exceptional work with the learners with the provision of a monthly reward for the ‘educator of the month’ prize. Regional dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists and occupational therapists were engaged to assist in the project. Local business people, community members and politicians were requested to participate towards the success of the learner’s education and progress. At present, the engaged community members continue to maintain their interest and assistance in the project. This is a small step for us and a giant leap for the learners to acquire an optimal education and strive for an independent future.

The KDF is planning to solidify this community based project and extend this model to other schools with special education needs in the province, and beyond.