Progress Report 2018

Highlights from 2017

  • New Deputy Principal Mr. Molebale
  • The unfortunate passing of the hairdressing teacher
  • Two students had an accident with a wheelchair
  • Three students have been employed by the government
  • Students in athletics and netball acquired the national gold medal
  • Occupational therapist, wood work and welding teacher retired
  • Search for new teachers
  • Renovated and upgraded the hairdressing classroom
  • Medical clinic relocated into a larger room with washroom facility

Progress Report 2018

January 22, 2018

  • Meeting held with the school principal, Deputy, Kathy and Mohamed present
  • Plans for 2018:
    • Deputy: Emphasis on technical skills development of students, practical skills for employment
    • List of items requested to be addressed during the meeting:
      • Jungle gym for motor skills development
      • Mini track for educating students on traffic safety and road use
      • Separation of the younger (foundation) and older students (R) to help with Appropriate age socializing and Prevention of bullying and abuse
      • Development of gymnasium and dining areas
      • Students who compete in Regional, provincial and national events lack attire and require: Sports uniform, Bags and shoes
      • Motorized school gate – to monitor the movement in and out of the school (also bus and taxi activity) for the security of the children

February 2, 2018

  • Guests from Canada in attendance: Nancy Bloomfield and Rick Arbor
  • Staff Appreciation: 2 laptops provided to the teachers and Grocery voucher of R750.00 given to 35 staff members
  • Student enrollment had decreased due to broken down school buses this year
  • Request for programs and costs
  • Purchase of a laser printer for the medical clinic at the school
  • Regular visits to the school – assessment of sick children and new admissions
  • The young children were ecstatic with the purchase of the Jungle gym. Kathy assisted the young children in wheelchairs who required help into the slide.

March 2, 2018

  • Recruited a masters student in Audiology to screen all children
  • Delivery of the following items:
    • Sports Uniform
    • Traditional clothing
    • Audio system
    • Portable PA system
    • Garden hats and equipment
    • Grass cutting equipment

March 9, 2018

  • Farewell function at the school 

Report on Trip to South Africa December 2015 to March 2016


Departure: Toronto December 28, 2016

  • Meeting with secretary of school on January 2, 2016 – reviewed events at school since last visit – premature deaths of 2 teachers and director of education; high absenteeism due to illnesses; new school governing board elected; new funding from Dept. of Education for a full-time nurse, 2 Occupational therapists and a Psychologist over the past 6 months
  • School opens January 13, 2016. Visited the school on 15th January. News of premature death of 2 young female teachers in the last quarter of 2015. The department of Education now provides for a full-time nurse and occupational therapist. School now has 300 special needs children. Met with staff, nurse and therapist. Morale is low following death of the teachers and some children. Many children and staff are mentally depressed. Agreed to regular medical visits to the school.
  • January 29, 2016. Attended Matric prizes and gift awards ceremony in Rayton to honour outstanding graduates. We awarded Lenovo laptops to the best female and male matriculated students in the district. (pictures)
  • February 5, 2016. Sizanane Staff (50) recognition awards. Morale very sombre with grief of the 2 dynamic teachers. All staff were given vouchers equivalent to 1 week of groceries. Some teachers were awarded Lenovo laptops to assist them with their duties. These gifts created an ecstatic atmosphere and the staff were overjoyed. This sparked an enthusiasm in them to focus on achieving the most with the children. A vote of thanks and gratitude was made with speeches by the teachers to honor each of the donors of the Kungwini Dream Fund.
  • Purchased Oxygen cylinders, masks and other emergency and clinic equipment from Pretoria. Purchased sporting equipment and canopies from Johannesburg. Frustrations with making payments – 1st a deposit; then the order; then a dozen calls to confirm; then the balance; the errors; etc. Orders placed for woodwork and metalwork equipment; knitting and embroidery equipment; and hairdressing equipment. Awaiting price estimates before confirming- still waiting!!!
  • February 6, 2016. Visited a rural clinic which I had started 37 years ago in the barren homelands of Kwandebele (where black people were to live when they were forcefully expelled from the cities). This was now a huge town with paved street, electricity and water and sewage. The trees have grown so much that landmarks were difficult to find! It was a very emotion, heart rendering experience – personally and professionally!
  • March 4, 2016. The last day of my visit to the school was filled with a farewell celebration for us. Students, parents and staff thanked us and the donors KDF for our presence, activities and donations to the children and staff.
  • From a medical viewpoint, we had to screen students and staff for a very contagious respiratory infection and treat and isolate them. Medications are being provided by the Department of Health. This infection was likely responsible for the illness and deaths.

Return: Toronto March 7, 2016

April 2014 Progress Report

January 15, 2014

  • National School Opening Day in Kungwini
  • Motivational speeches with MEC Wadee at schools at Rethabiseng and Ekangala followed by Town Hall meeting with parents and ANC and PCO Members
  • Schools and students congratulated on 93% pass of high school students in the district

January 22, 2014

  • Civil unrest in Kungwini due to high electricity bills associated with merger of municipality with Pretoria.
  • Boycotts, marches and speeches resulting in violence
  • Burning of tires and stones blockading of streets and main roads
  • Police riot squad called in

January 23, 2014

  • Boycotts continue with violence and 18 arrests
  • Unrest spreads to neighbouring townships Ekangala, Cullinan and Delmas
  • Students and teachers unable to get to schools

January 27, 2014

  • Meeting with Principle and Staff at Sizanane amidst the civil unrest
  • Review past years admissions and needs
  • 45 new kids admitted this past year
  • No new staff – 2 staff died of pneumonia and 1 hospitalized
  • Burning of library, police station and homes and businesses in townships of Zithobeni Rethabiseng and Ekangala

January 29, 2014

  • Regular school day
  • Assessing new admissions and follow up of previous concerns

January 31, 2014

  • Awards day for high school achieves of the district of Medswetting
  • Attended gala at Rayton Community Hall awarding the class of 2013
  • 100 people including parents attended philosophical speech

February 2, 2014

  • Violence and property destruction
  • Teachers and kids unable to come to school
  • District wide boycott
  • Police and riot forces on defensive
  • 18 arrests in court
  • Heavy rains day and night for 2 weeks limiting access to school

February 19, 2014

  • Teachers incentives day
  • 30 staff members given gift certificates

March 6, 2014

  • School day at Sizanane
  • 4 wheelchairs presented (Need 9 more!)
  • Heart breaking event

March 12, 2014

  • School day
  • Assessments and counselling
  • Visited victims of burnt homes – counselling until dusk

March 18, 2014

  • Collected vaccines from Fourways Hospital thanks to Shabir Banoo and Abdur Rahim
  • 3 children taken to appointments with Dr Dahiya for eye disorders (ophthalmologist)

March 19, 2014

  • Influenza vaccination day 1 at Sizanane
  • All kids parents and staff had given consent – all examined before shots
  • No complications
  • 1 schizophrenic child refused vaccine
  • All smiles especially with candies and pictures

March 20, 2014

  • Second day of school vaccination program – had 178 vaccines left –
  • Vaccinated all the consent approved kids and entire staff of the Sizanane and St. Josephs Catholic Mission Complex including the staff and caregivers
  • 6 wheelchairs presented to needy kids

March 25, 2014

  • Our last day at Sizanane
  • School assembly and farewell songs and prayers with staff and kids
  • Plenty of gifts and tears
  • Employment contract with Nurse Crista Botha given
  • 6 Epads given to children with autism

Identifying barriers that restrict inclusion into mainstream schooling.

A Student Health Initiative Project

The study examined the impact and health needs of children with special needs in a government-operated LSEN school in Kungwini, Gauteng, South Africa.

Review of social, educational and medical records of 38 learners exposed many social and medical barriers which restricted learning and development.

From our findings, inclusion into mainstream schooling from a school for special education needs can be enhanced with thorough pre-admission medical assessments and attention to therapy, clearly defining admission criteria, and establishing a transition class.

Charity Updates – January 2014

Recent charitable activities:

April 20, 2013 – Launch of Kungwini Dream fund at Riverstone Golf Course, Brampton, ON. 100 guests in attendance.

April 29, 2013 – Kungwini Dream Fund represented by Dr. Hussain at the Canadian Automobile Sports Club Tire Attack series and Championship.

August 22, 2013 – Canada Revenue Agency approved charitable status.

October 2, 2013 – Donations are now acceptable by PayPal and credit card.

Activities in South Africa 2013

January 4th, 2013

  • Bus accident – 18 killed in Kungwini
  • Dr. Hussain provides grief counseling to families of deceased over 2 months.

January 12, 2013

  • Preparation for mass funeral
  • Dr. Hussain arranges for food donations from local businesses for over 1500 mourners

January 13, 2013

  • Mass funeral for deceased from accident
  • Dr. Hussain coordinates food distribution

January 15, 2013

January 21, 2013

  • Meeting with Sizanani school staff
  • Dr. Hussain reviews 2012 progress

January 23, 2013

  • Meeting with Department of Education, including Dr. Sethosa, Mrs. Khabanyani
  • Dr. Hussain reports results of previous year’s progress.

February 4, 2013

  • Tswane Mayoral Matric Awards in Pretoria City Hall
  • Special Guests include Dr. Hussain & Kathy Hussain

March 11, 2013

  • Comprehensive Secondary School meeting
  • Dr. Hussain presents motivational speeches to assembly. Topics include career counseling, class motivation, and psychotherapy.

March 15, 2013

  • Parliamentary Speech in Cape Town by Member Hon. Mr. J. Sibanyoni
  • Dr. Hussain honored in speech for humanitarian work.

March 22, 2013

  • Farwell reception at Sizanani by children and staff
  • Special Guests include Dr. Hussain & Kathy Hussain

March 25, 2013

  • Meeting with MP, MLA, ANC staff, school principles, councilors and community – Human Rights Day.
  • Dr. Hussain honored in speech for humanitarian work.

Student Health Initiative Project: An Observational Study


Objectives: This is a pilot project that aims to reduce the barriers to health care, learning and development, as well as promotion of essential health awareness and behaviour which will have a direct impact on a child’s school performance, absenteeism and overall health. There are many barriers which restrict health care, learning and development and these include transportation, lack of financial resources, language and cultural differences, poor nutrition, poverty, and disabilities including gross loco-motor dysfunction, impaired vision or hearing, and environmental factors such as poor water and sanitation. These all negatively impact the overall development of children and youth.

Setting: A government operated school for LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS (LSEN) in Kungwini (Bronkhorstspruit), Gauteng, South Africa.

Design:  Social, educational and medical records were reviewed with the educator and learners followed by a complete physical examination to formulate a needs assessment.

Subjects:  Subjects (mean age 12.9 years) were 34 learners who were attending the school with a learning disability (admitted either as a slow learner, mental retardation, delayed milestones, intellectually handicapped, ADHD, reduced attention, forgets easily and repeating grades, as a admission diagnosis on the medical forms from the attending physician and referring school’s forms) at the ratio of 1:3 female/ males. Interviews were conducted by the educators who helped in the interpretation and communication with their learners, and expressed their concerns with the education of the learners. These educators were immensely resourceful for social and educational data, and comforted the learners during the assessments.

Main Outcome Measures: Data for 34 learners was reviewed with 7 educators over 5 assessment visits during February 2012. Assessment needs included demographic data, parental status and occupation, developmental history, (pregnancy, birth and milestones), medical and surgical history, disability description (from the referring physician), use of appliances, independence of ADL’s (activities of daily living), nutritional assessment, developmental assessment for learning disabilities, school attendance, physical activities, child abuse risk, sleep problems and stressors, sanitation assessment, health education and safety needs, immunizations, vital signs, visual, hearing and dental screening a neurological status assessment and a complete physical assessment excluding a genital examination. Urinalysis was performed for each learner. Educator concerns were noted and discussed. The data was assessed for short and long term needs, remedial actions and barriers to the suggestions.

The home language of the learners sometimes differed from the first language at school (Zulu). Communication in the second language (English) was generally poor. The overwhelming majorities of learners were happy to be studying at this school and preferred to stay on as they were not bored at this school due to the interactive educators or stressed by the demands of the mainstream schools.

Results:  As predicted, there were many barriers which restricted learning and development and these included:

A learning disorder was classified according to the special needs in reading, written expression, mathematics, motor skills, communication and pervasive development.

Nine of the 34 learners (26.4%) did not fulfill the criteria of a learning disorder. They were referred as slow learners, mild mental retardation, muscular dystrophy, or other medical condition not conducive to the mainstream school education.           They demonstrated average or above average performance in class with the educators. This group was either misplaced, misdiagnosed or had improved from their original condition.

Social conditions such as inadequate parenting, ill, deceased or no parents, unstable homes, absenteeism due to illness, sleep deprivation due distances in transportation, lack of financial resources, language and cultural differences.

Fourteen (41%) learners had social conditions impairing their educational development as outlined above. Some learners carried the burden of prior abuse, desertion, and being cared for by a teenage sibling. One learner was sleep deprived and underperforming at school as he had two part-time jobs after school to supplement his finances.

Medical conditions included HIV/AIDS ( some were on treatment and some were unscreened but suspicious of), hearing deficits ( wax in ears, untreated nerve conduction defects),  vision deficits (lack of glasses, trachoma), mood disorders, congenital abnormalities ( hydrocephaly, craniofacial disorders), neurodegenerative disorders, cerebral palsy,  respiratory disorders (asthma, tuberculosis) and disabilities including gross loco-motor dysfunction ( muscular dystrophy and arthrogryposis). These all negatively impacted the overall development of the learners. Environmental factors such as poor water and sanitation had no impact.

There were 30 (88%) learners with active health conditions impacting on their education. These are described above. Most learners need immediate and long term interventions to reduce their burden on education. One learner is progressing to blindness while awaiting corneal transplant surgery for the past one year. Learners with wax in their ears were classified as hearing impaired with learning deficits. Learners with global cognitive disorders required appropriate long term institutionalization and personalized care that is not possible at this institution.

Nutritional assessments were mostly satisfactory except for an obvious reduction in BMI in children inflicted by HIV/AIDS. BMI assessment in children is not always reliable.

The potential for abuse exposure was not apparent at present. However, two students have a history of sexual abuse by the parent or guardian.

Health educational was lacking in the areas of water and fire safety.  Fire emergency planning and swimming were not known or practised by most students. Risky behaviour such as the effects of smoking, alcohol use and substance abuse were unknown to the students who always denied their use of these substances.

Immunizations were not documented in some records and poorly completed on the attending medical practitioner’s form.

The developmental histories were most uninformative. Almost all medical forms were completed as “delayed milestones” without any description of any of the milestones assessed or inquired.

The educators showed concern in the following areas:

  1. Overcrowding. There were about 25 learners with special education needs for each educator. This ratio was overwhelming the abilities of the educators.
  2. The ‘Inclusion Policy” of the Department of Education and the Ministry hampers the needs of the learners. Learners with mild mental retardation were classed with the severely and profoundly retarded learners, resulting in a disparity of educational needs and goals for the educators to achieve in one class.
  3. Disruptive behavior by learners with an inability to set limits by the educator resulted in an escalation of the learners behavior and attitude to the educators.
  4. There needs to be a clearer exit strategy for the learners who have either improved, were normal or had reached an age into adulthood. Some learners were more than 30 years old and were integrated with very young learners with different needs.
  5. Vocational Co-op programs to introduce the learners to industry and societal services need to be enhanced.

The following recommendations may alleviate the barriers to educational development at this institution, and could be a model for other such institutions:

  1. Admission criteria. The admission and medical criteria for an acceptance of a learner to the school with special needs has to be clearly defined. The medical form completed by the medical practitioner must include a detailed birth and developmental history, learning developmental deficits, past medical history, individual immunizations, screening for visual and hearing, detailed physical and mental status examination, medical and rehabilitation needs and identity of the practitioner. An example of the form is attached. This information is imperative in appropriately providing for the learners global needs and facilitates the rapid rehabilitation of the learner. If more details are needed, this should be requested from the medical practitioner before placement of the learner.  The placement committee, the rehabilitation staff including the occupational, speech and physical therapists, and the psychologists must meet as the admission committee to correctly review the needs of each learner, and review them with the parent or guardian prior to admission.
  2. Transition Class to the mainstream school. A special class focussed on preparing learners who have improved or were misplaced needs to be established to emotionally, mentally and physically speed up integration and a return into the mainstream school. This would alleviate the overcrowding by this group of learners. A quarterly review meeting by the placement committee on all learners would monitor the progress of these learners objectively thereby maintaining the optimal remedial measures.
  3. Learners in need of medical attention and services which inhibit their development must get the attention immediately. A failure to do these handicaps their progress as long as the condition persists, results in overcrowding of classes, and poses a serious a risk of spreading the disease to other learners and educators.
  4. Poor parenting and other parenting issues must involve the Department of Social Services and their strategies to address these issues including provision of parenting classes. All learners not attending classes must provide a medical certificate for their absence.
  5. Educator frustrations. Group meetings with the educators on a weekly basis would allow for their concerns to be shared with possible solutions. A monthly meeting providing an incentive for the educators has been established.
  6. Health education safety and promotion. Learners would benefit from education specific to the effects of risky behavior including smoking, alcohol use, substance abuse (glue sniffing and marijuana), and the risks of operating a motor vehicle. Classes promoting safety during a fire and swimming lessons would reduce the lifelong risks of bodily harm and death.
  7. Physiotherapy, Speech and Occupational therapy services. These were not available or accessible to the learners. These therapeutic modalities are critical in the rehabilitation of learners with special needs, and the absence of these therapies were delaying and retarding the progress of the learners.


The SHIP Project has achieved its objective in a limited setting of a school for special education needs. It has demonstrated:

  1.  The incidence of children with health needs
  2. The spectrum of health needs
  3. Practical screening measures
  4. Practical remedial measure
  5. Barriers to remedial measures
  6. Impact of project on student health and education
  7. Impact on educators and school.
  8. Strategies to improve services for children health and education

The project will assist the school community in addressing its health and education needs, and advance public education, and social and economic development. This success will then be shared with potential Canadian financial donors and physicians who will be encouraged to support with financial and medical resources. This pilot project is hoped to be a model to assist children in other schools and cities in South Africa.


Councillor Jabulani S. Mabona – Chief whip of Council, and Mr.Peter Nkosi of the City of Tswane, who encouraged and endorsed the project, introduced me to the schools, educators, and the officers of the City of Tswane, and who closely monitored and supported my progress.

MEC for Finance Mr. Mandla Nkomfe who encouraged and endorsed the project during the school opening campaign in January, 2012.

The principal Mr. A. Mthimkulu, educators and staff of the Sizanane LSEN School for their immense dedication and commitment to the children of South Africa.

Dr. Sethosa, Mrs. Khabanyani and Mr. Herbert Nkosi of the Department of Education for their encouragement, assistance and advice for the project.

Late Comrade Steve Bhiko whose personal words echo daily: To empower the mind of every child in Africa.

Mrs. Kathy Szarka and Ameena Nanabhai for their administrative and moral support.

Disclosure / Conflict of Interest; Dr. Mohamed Rashid Goolam Hussain has received unsolicited donations for this project from Mrs. Violet and the Late Donald D’Albenas, Ricky and George Michals, and Luc Guillemenault  of Ontario, Canada.

Cc. Councillor Jabulani S. Mabona, Mr. Peter Nkosi. Dr. Sethosa, Mrs. Kabunyani and Mr. Herbert Nkosi, Mr. A. Mthimkulu, Mr. Mandla Nkomfe.