Lack of cash forces children’s centre to close

The future of more than 40 severely disabled children at Monica Brewer Memorial Day Care Centre in Bulawayo is in jeopardy following the closure of the centre due to lack of funding.

The centre, which caters for children living with severe cerebral palsy was established in 2001 by parents.

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life.

Tracy Mabiza, the Bulawayo branch coordinator of the Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association (ZPHCA), which runs the centre, described there as critical and desperate.

“The centre is facing a number of challenges, among them running costs for the shuttle bus, escalating rents and food shortages for the kids. This has resulted in temporary closure of the centre this term,” said Mabiza.

Mabiza fears the closure of the centre might result in the deaths of some of the children due to malnutrition and lack of physiotherapy, as the children will no longer have access to any basic support services.

“We are appealing for any form of assistance from well-wishers so that we can save this centre from collapse. Most of these children were used to getting nutritional and physiotherapy support here, and the health of some of them has drastically deteriorated,” she said.

The centre is appealing for financial assistance to embark on a drip irrigation project on a piece of land donated to it by the city of Bulawayo in Emakhandeni high-density suburb.

“Our ultimate objective is to be self-sustaining. We want to develop our piece of land to be a green belt where we can grow food for the children and, if possible, sell the surplus. Our intention is also to build a boarding school at the site so that the children can stay at the centre,” said Mabiza.

According to the coordinator, the centre, which has seven permanent members of staff and 13 voluntary care-givers, most of them parents of the children, needs $45,148 a year to keep running.

Janet Moyo, whose child was enrolled at the centre, described the closure of the centre as unfortunate and cruel.

“Now that the centre has closed I do not know what my child is going to do. Through this centre, my child was able to attend school and mix and mingle with other children in his similar situation. This centre had made a great impact on the lives of children with disabilities,” said Moyo.

Another parent, Memory Sibanda, appealed to the government through the ministry of social welfare to rescue the centre.

Post published in: News
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