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Chairperson's Report : 31 March 2014

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
– John Milton

This year the Association was overwhelmed with the support of our ongoing Donors, who contribute and believe in the work we do. While waiting to learn whether we would again be a beneficiary of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, we hit an all-time financial low. However, I am pleased to say that with the help of our Donors we were still able to meet all our commitments. For this we are exceedingly grateful; where would we be without all of you who support us in so many ways

It is our Association’s policy not to print the names of our Donors - we would have to draft a whole other booklet, but it is very important to me to name the people who sponsored phases one and two at our Reunion School.

  • A 66 bed state-of-the-art hostel was sponsored by Afrisun KZN Community Development Trust
  • A brand new Autistic Unit with three classrooms were contributed by The Victor Daitz Foundation.
  • Finishing this development off was VOPAK Terminals (Pty) Ltd for the extra fire equipment.
  • Gold Reef Speciality Chemicals and the HCI Foundation for specialised playground equipment for our disabled children.

The official openings of two of these phases took place in April and May 2013.  They were exciting, fun and the children participated to share their gratitude.

Phase three of the building project has now been started for the academic classrooms by sponsors:

  • The Albert Wessels Trust and
  • The Beare Foundation  

This is nearing completion and we hope to move in by the fourth term.  Building these classrooms means that the School will now have three skills development classes.  Previously these were shared for skills and academics which was not an ideal situation.  We are extremely proud of this development.

During May 2013, Mrs Edith Makhaye, Principal of Reunion School and Paula van Eeden, Manager at CREST and CWAC attended the National Council Cerebral Palsy Conference.  This is an annual highlight in the Cerebral Palsy community and they are able to connect with others experiencing the same challenges and learn from each other as well as finding out about the latest research.

Another highlight during this year was the Global Impact Day.  These volunteers arrived from all over (even Pietermaritzburg) and it was one marvelous day of fun and spoiling for the kids.

A big annual event was the celebration of our beloved Madiba’s birthday.  This was a thrilling experience and the Donor went far beyond the 67 minutes.  They said to us: “Whenever they can assist, they will do so and incorporate the true essence of Nelson Mandela day by making every day a Mandela day for our children!”

Honorary Life Membership was bestowed on Mrs Sharon Burdett at the Annual General meeting.

The Browns’ School fete was once again very successful.  Thank you to Browns’ School for hosting us for Cerebral Palsy day.

During September 2013, Spring day was another flowering occasion and the Pevensey Place Fete was as always “DELICIOUS”!

The Game Stores and Vodacom partnership made a generous donation of wheelchairs to five of our children at our Centres.

All Christmas parties and prize-givings were, as ever, joyous and exhilarating for our special children.

We have been active during the year with social media and currently boast 211 likes on Facebook.  Please visit our Facebook and website regularly to read our “hot off the press” news.  You can also use the site to read previous newsletters.

Most people know very little about cerebral palsy so I would like to correct one of the common misconceptions. No matter what, babies and children with cerebral palsy become adults with cerebral palsy. There is no cure for cerebral palsy; it is a condition that neither improves nor deteriorates. As the child becomes an adult, the symptoms may appear to worsen but this is more a result of stiffening with age as well as the fact that as children develop through different developmental stages, the extent of the condition becomes more obvious. Early intervention helps avoid or reduce the severity of symptoms but the condition itself does not change.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to all our amazing volunteers, every single donor no matter the size of their donations as well the general public, the Trusts, Foundations, Corporations, Service Clubs and Churches who help us in so many ways.

Last but not least, I must thank Ina and her wonderful team. Ina has created a team of people who all adhere to her high standards of efficiency, devotion and compassion.

Keep up the good work and take care, all of you.

teacher with child