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Published on : 13 Jun, 2022

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On Wednesday 25 May 2022, the Commission handed over assistive devices to children with special needs. The event was held at the Mbabane Government Hospital and attended by some ESCCOM Board Members, the PS in the Ministry of Education and members of the Special Needs Unit, officials from the Ministry of Health, Project Partners and the children with their parents. The contribution consisted of 30 specialized wheelchairs meant to comfortably support and position the young ones as well as electronic end-user gadgets to support their education. This project is part of the Commission's mandate through the Universal Access and Service Fund.

In his speech, the ESCCOM Chief Executive appreciated Shonaquip and Edit Micro who are vendors of the project for their contribution towards bridging the digital divide, especially to our people with special needs. He also expressed his gratitude to the health practitioners and the Educators who are assisting the students, and encouraged the parents to make good use of the tools which will enable the children to be efficient, and productive and their learning seamless.

The PS in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Bheki Gama, on behalf of the Minister, appreciated the support from ESCCOM towards realising the vision of the Ministry which is to promote Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the most effective way to realise inclusion and provision of equitable quality education for children and youth with disabilities. He also expressed the Ministry’s gratitude for the enrolment of 20 Special Needs Education practitioners in the “Certificate on Online Teaching for Educators” (COTE) course offered by UNESWA’s Institute of Distance Education. He shared that the course will capacitate the educators to ensure that children with disabilities benefit effectively from the eLearning Passport that the MoET is setting up.

Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Thando Tembe, who represented the Director of Health, also appreciated the assistance that ESCCOM has extended to the Ministry as they have proven to be a reliable partner. He mentioned that the additional support enables the Ministry to also focus on rehabilitation initiatives as traditionally they have been concentrating on curative initiatives.

The parents of the children also appreciated the tools they received to minimise the challenges faced while caring for the children and taking them to school. Speaking on behalf of the parents, Mr. Mavela Mabuza, also a teacher by profession, elaborated on some of the challenges they face as parents and teachers especially in transporting the children to school and the hospital. He stated that the specialized wheelchairs will go a long way towards giving the children an opportunity to experience some level of independence and promote social inclusion as they are tailor-made to suit each child’s home and school terrain and provide postural support.