Small children’s voices singing ” Happy birthday Tata Mandela”, while marching around their school with Nelson Mandela’s picture on a poster, greet us on arrival at the Baby Therapy Centre’s outreach station in Mamelodi Pretoria.
It is the 18th of July, Mandela Day in South Africa and we are on our way to build our piece of the Rainbow Nation.
Soon mothers with their special needs babies start arriving. They walk long distances carrying their babies bundled in thick blankets against the biting highveld winter wind in their arms. From the little they have, they contribute packets of biscuits, tjips and sweets, as this is their day to celebrate and thank those responsible for the new therapy building which we are opening today.
For fifteen years a team of therapists from The Baby Therapy Centre ran a weekly therapy service in a Wendy hut in a corner of a church and nursery school property. Special needs babies from the community attend therapy free of charge here.
Not only do these mothers and their babies receive necessary therapy, they also form new friendships and build a network of support for one another in a society where the disabled is often still shunned and ostracized.
Now a dream has come true.
Due to the generosity of two companies, Adventure Shells and Discovery Medical Aid, they will no longer suffer the heat in summer, the cold in winter, nor the indignity of no bathroom facilities, but can be proud of their therapy rooms and buildings.
Our team of therapists consisting of a Physio Therapist, Speech Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist, form deep relationships with their clients. Seeing their smiles and hearing their giggles of joy mean great satisfaction and reward to them.The optimal development of the children is the first and foremost goal which they strive for.
The mothers, children, therapists and representatives from the two companies who made the new building, paving and equipment possible all mingle and enjoy the food and fellowship with one another.
Then the special moment.
Masimolong a Bontle ! A Beautiful New beginning!
The ribbon is cut to symbolize the opening of the new building and the start of a beautiful new beginning.
Watching the ceremony, I pray that this building and the therapy services rendered here will truly mean a beautiful new beginning to these special babies and their families
Late in the afternoon , the mothers and their babies walk away in a little group, chatting happily among one another.
Maybe we did build a little piece of the Rainbow Nation today.