How did Ikhwezi Lokusa happen?

In 1958, the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in Glen Avent Convent were discerning, what service the local community needed most: School? Old Age Home? But a simple happening showed the way.

The then district surgeon, Dr. Hildegard Schmidt, had in her employ a local woman whose child, Walter Dyaspu, was crippled with cerebral palsy. The doctor gave her maid a much needed holiday and simply took the handicapped boy to the German sisters in the Glen Avent Convent, asking them to please look after him for the time being.

And as if the news was broadcast, the mothers from the surrounding area came walking with their handicapped children on their backs, saying: "We have heard that you are going to do something for these children of ours."

This was the beginning of Ikhwezi Lokusa Centre for children and young adults with physical or slight mental challenges.

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.

Zukile Nkumeni

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 with his wife

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."