'Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future.' These words were spoken by Nelson Mandela during the opening of the First Annual South African Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp in Johannesburg on 4 December 1994.
In honour of Mandela Day on 18 July 2016, the CAAC and their MECI (Masters in Early Childhood Intervention) students gave their 67 minutes adapting children's books for children with disabilities. This work is in line with the Mandela Day theme of 'Education and literacy'. On their website the Nelson Mandela Foundation says of this theme: 'In a world where knowledge truly is power, education and literacy are the basic building blocks that unlock the gates of opportunity and success. We all have a responsibility as parents, as caregivers, as educators, as leaders and as citizens, to instil in individuals, children and communities the critical drive for literacy and learning so that we can give them the chance to fulfil their dreams.'
Books are powerful tools to introduce young children with disabilities to literacy. The staff and MECI students added 'page fluffers' (which make it easier to turn pages by enlarging the spaces between them), textures and picture communication symbols to the books. On 14 September 2016 the books were donated to Chrysalis Preschool in Pretoria. The preschool provides adapted schooling and intensive therapy to children between the ages of three and six years who have a variety of disabilities (including both physical and psychosocial). Its ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of life of these children and their families, through various interventions, a supportive environment, caring and committed staff, and an attitude of perseverance and gratitude
All the staff and students at the CAAC are inspired daily by Nelson Mandela's legacy and we hope this small contribution to Chrysalis Preschool will change the lives of these young children.
'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' – Nelson Mandela