March is Intellectual Disability Awareness Month
Nomsa* is the young mother of a toddler born with severe Intellectual Disability. He needs 24 hour care, special schooling, stimulation and therapy. But there are no facilities in the township where she lives. And – instead of getting much needed help and support – she has to deal with superstition, condemnation and isolation.
Intellectual Disability still carries a huge stigma in the townships and rural areas.
With no support from the father of the child, her family or the community, all the burden of caring for her son rests on Nomsa's young shoulders. She can't go out to work because she has no one to leave him with. The pair live in dreadful poverty, surviving on hand-outs from one or two compassionate neighbours.
Even though health, education and social security policies for the care of the disabled are in place in South Africa, service delivery falls far short of these ideals.
In the rural areas especially, people do not even know there is help available, let alone where to find it. The vast majority of children with disabilities in Africa – 90% – never go to school. And thus have no hope of achieving some measure of independence and participation in the community.
Please join forces with us during Intellectual Disability Month – as we campaign for the upscaling of services for persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
We rely heavily on people like you to help us continue spreading awareness in communities across South Africa. In July 2013, we began a three year drive to advocate for adequate service delivery for persons with Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness by creating public awareness around the lack of beds for Psychiatric patients in South Africa.
But we need your help again now to lobby for services for children and adults with Intellectual Disability.
Thank you for caring.
Please click here for more information about Intellectual Disability in South Africa.
*Name changed to protect identity.
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