A few of us at DStv Online decided to celebrate the coming of spring by spreading a little love and sunshine to a few deserving and incredibly inspiring children. We took a trip to the Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre in Soweto, a home that cares for children with mental and physical disabilities. “Nkanyezi” means “shining star” in Zulu, and we were certainly treated to an array of stars at Nkanyezi.

A shining star at the Nkanyezi Centre

Learning with the Children

The DStv Online crew arrived at Nkanyezi ready to give the children a day to remember. Once we had introduced ourselves and met Ma Prisca, the founder, we split up into to two groups. The guys went to plant some of the veggies we’d brought for the centre’s veggie garden and the girls went to play with the kids.

We were then taken on a tour through the various classes. The teachers and care-givers explained what happens on a daily basis at the centre, while the kids tried to win our attention with big hugs, offers of toys, laughs and invitations to play games.

Anna playing with one of the children from the Nkanyezi Centre

The school is broken down into different classes, each teaching different groups of children different skills. Some classes, for instance, cater for the young ones, showing them differences in textures, shapes and colours. Other classes focus on motor, reading and maths skills. It was really encouraging to hear stories of kids starting to talk and walk where previously they were shunned by society and told that they would never be able to do so.

Play time outside was perhaps the highlight of the day. The children flocked to the roundabout and sandpit, spirits soaring and faces lighting up. It was no easy task rounding them up for a return to class!

DStv Online Discovers the Unsung Heroes

Nkanyezi Centre cares for about 40 children. Named after the founder’s late son, Nkanyezi Tshabalala, the centre was originally formed as a support group for parents of children with multiple disabilities in 1998. 13 years later, it has evolved to care for children whose parents had nowhere else to send them for stimulation, education and safe play.

The heroes behind Nkanyezi are the teachers and care-givers. Nkanyezi has not received its full welfare grant in many months and cannot afford to pay them their salaries. Nonetheless, they continue to come to work every day with smiles on their faces. These teachers have an enormous amount of love and care to give and some contribute their state pensions to the centre, just to make sure that the children have a healthy lunch to eat.

Children having fun at the Nkanyezi Centre

The DStv Online team learnt a lot from our trip to Nkanyezi. We gained a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of humility. Moreover we formed a real bond with the children of Nkanyezi which will doubtless see us making many more visits to the centre in the future.

To make an online donation to the Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre please see here.