Over the years, we have been blessed with volunteers from Europe and North America who assist in a variety of tasks e.g. teaching, nursing, administration, computer training, driving, sports and recreation, maintenance, etc., all of which are essential to the smooth running of the Society. Their generous service is appreciated and enjoyed by the young people and staff alike. In turn, it is hoped that this life experience will bring personal enrichment and joy and a greater insight into the abilities and needs of the disabled of the Eastern Cape Province.
In 1956 the superiors of our congregation appealed to the Papal Mission Society in Aachen, West Germany. The President, Father Paul Koppelberg CSSp, responded by making the building of a modern school with residential facilities the main project of the “Sternsinger”. Through their work and the generosity of the Catholic people of Germany money was collected for a boarding school for 100 children. The buildings were erected on a site North of Glen Avent Convent which was given by the Municipality of Umtata. The official opening took place on 15 April 1964 by the Apostolic Delegate and Chief Kaiser Matanzima.
To commemorate the role of the “Sternsinger” in the founding of the school, it was named “Ikhwezi Lokusa” (Morning Star).
Interview with Zukile Nkumeni, trainee at Ikhwezi Lokusa
How did you hear about Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society? How did you come here?
Mrs. Madikwa, from 1995 until 1997 my school teacher, told me about Ikhwezi Lokusa. In 2005, I met her again after High School, when I worked at “Rustenberg Mines”. In 2006, I got sick and I was admitted in hospital. Then I remember, what Mrs. Madikwa told me about Ikhwezi Lokusa. Then I was admitted at Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehab.
What kind of training are you doing?
I do lots of different works at sewing workshop. I design traditional clothes and school uniforms, like shirts, trousers, tracksuits and pyjamas etc.
What do you like about the Society?
I like this place, especially when I live in my private flat with four trainees of my same age. I always have somebody to talk to and I share my leisure time with them. I’m also happy to have nice staff.
What ideas, plans and hopes do you have for the future?
One day, I want to be able to have my own house. I cannot live in my home, because there is no electricity and no roads for transport. I hope, I will get work, maybe to start my own business.
Would you recommend to others to come here?
Yes, of course. If somebody has a similar situation as mine, Ikhwezi Lokusa is a good opportunity to learn to work and to have time to think about the future.
What did you learn beside the skills at sewing workshop?
I learned that I have to concentrate completely on what I do until I finish it. That’s the best way to come to a good end. I also learned to communicate and interact with other people and to respect their views.
Story of Lilian Livi, Ex-Trainee at Ikhwezi Lokusa
Born 04 September 1957 in a very remote area Mncwasa A/Area in Mqanduli of illiterate parents. As a result ended up not going to school, but as domestic worker in Durban, where she met with a train accident. Both arms and legs were amputated and she had to depend on others for activities of daily living. She was admitted at the Society where she was fortunate to receive rehabilitation and skills training with the help of volunteer physiotherapists and OT’s (Peter van Hoof , Sr. Gabriel Mary Riddle and skills trainer Mrs. Michelle Journet). Once she started those few steps, she never looked back, as she was determined to walk and do things for herself.
Today she says; Ikhwezi Lokusa has given me so much. It brought back my dignity as a person. I was able to walk again and do things on my own. Ikhwezi Lokusa is like a home to many of us. I wish parents and other disabled persons could go to Ikhwezi Lokusa to have their minds opened and to become better person. I salute Ikhwezi Lokusa for the service it provides to these less fortunate”
Lamla Dungulu owns a business
“I am Lamla Dungulu affected by poliomyelitis at a very young age. I left school in Standard 08, as schools were not accessible. I heard about Ikhwezi Lokusa where I was taught tailoring by the Late Brother Eric Schurp. Today I have my own business which is my main source of income. I do not have to beg to provide for my family as the Society prepared me well to be independent.
The Society has given me a lifetime opportunity. I pay for my children’s education from my business. I am today a better and respected person in my community. Parents should let their children get opportunities for education and skills by coming to Ikhwezi Lokusa.