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Centre for the disabled pleads with govt

Lijeng Ranooe

THE government needs to do more to help disabled persons as well as in the provision of assistance to institutions for the disabled in the form of material resources and specially trained teachers. 

This was said by the Principal of Itjareng Vocational Training Centre, Mafeike Phatsoane in a recent interview with the Sunday Express.

Ms Phatsoane said the centre was in dire need of resources to enable it to continue providing vocational training to disabled persons.

Itjareng Vocational Training Centre is a non-profit organisation situated at Masianokeng Village, east of Maseru. It was established in 1986 by the Lesotho National Association of the Physically Disabled (LNAPD) and it is registered with the ministry of education.

The centre provides residential vocational training for 18 to 24 months for disabled persons in leatherwork, carpentry, sewing and metalwork and agriculture. It charges a nominal school fee of M1500 per month per quarter. Students aged 18 to 55 years old live on site and the products made by students are available for sale by special order.

Basic training is also provided in book-keeping, literacy and numeracy.

Ms Phatsoane said among other things, the centre required more teachers that were trained to deal with the special needs of disabled persons.

“We ask that the government holds up its end of the bargain by giving us the tools we need to provide quality education to our students” Ms Phatsoane said.

“The government must provide us with teachers, social workers and equipment. The government needs to do more. We are struggling as a school to access the necessary resources.

“It is important that our students gain the necessary skills to live a normal life. We want our students to be empowered to become entrepreneurs.

She also pleaded with the ministry of social development to assist with wheelchairs as well as financial support for their basic needs.

“The ministry of social development has a grant that they offer disabled people but that only coves their school fees, not the other unique needs of disabled persons.

“There are always reasons and delays in responding to our queries. More funds are required to improve the quality of life and ensure the education of every Mosotho living with disability.

“Parents also need to be educated on matters concerning various disabilities and the proper care for each of them. There should be more programmes to increase public awareness on disabilities,” Ms Phatsoane said.

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