In 1999 a group of professionals ran a caregivers training course in Mpophomeni. They realised that there were many children and adults with disabilities in the town, and that some were even multi-disabled. The newly trained caregivers then obtained permission from the pastor to use a building to start a centre for the disabled. Due to the fact that most of the children’s parents could not afford fees and the fact that the building required many renovations, funding was obtained for an initial development period.
Funding remains a problem at the centre, where most of the staff is volunteers, as there is insufficient food and not nearly enough toys and stimulatory games for the children. The centre struggles on however, and is definitely worth a visit. The centre also works closely with the Pietermartizburg Therapy Assessment Centre to ensure that the knowledge and skills of the staff remain current. The Inkanyiso Centre also acts as an assessment centre by gauging what the disability really is, and then finding an appropriate school for the child. The centre also trains parents and tries to increase the awareness of disabilities in the community where disabled people have traditionally been stigmatised.
The centre also has a workroom for disabled adults. Here they handcraft items such as bags and quilts from scraps of leather or fabric. The crafts are then sold to raise money for the crafters and the centre. The centre will always welcome donations of cash, toys, books, wheelchairs, food and other items, and will of course welcome visitors who would like to play with the children or chat with the crafters.