ITIRELENG BENEFICIARIES CELEBRATE GRADUATION

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By Sipho Ncube

  • The Ikemele Women Empowerment Project in Garankuwa Zone 4 has successfully equipped its participants with valuable skills, fostering independence and self-sufficiency.
  • The project, supported by Lesedi La Batho and the Gauteng Department of Social Development, focuses on training in sewing, beading, and agriculture for women and individuals with disabilities.
  • The recent graduation ceremony was a testament to the transformative impact of such initiatives, bringing joy and a sense of achievement to participants and their families.

Ululation and jubilation filled the air as 80-year-old Sarah Maledi watched her daughter, Maria (46), who has epilepsy, graduate from the Ikemele Women Empowerment Project in Garankuwa Zone 4 on Friday. Maria, a resident at Itireleng Residential Facility for the Disabled since 2017, celebrated this significant milestone with her proud mother. “I’m over the moon that my child today joins her siblings who graduated before her; God is great,” said Sarah.

Social Work Supervisor Dineo Somo noted that Maria’s health has improved both physically and mentally since her arrival at the facility. Graduates of the programme received six-month certificates in sewing, beading, and agriculture plant production through Lesedi La Batho, a community Christian faith-based non-profit organisation. Lesedi La Batho aims to inspire, empower, and motivate youth and the community through sport, education, skills training, social enterprise development, community wellness, and arts and culture.

Speaking at the ceremony, Centre Manager Thapelo Mokwena said, “We also provide training to clients with disabilities, and we have worked with various SETAs for job opportunities since 2011. We are funded by the Gauteng Department of Social Development through sustainable skills training, computer literacy, sewing and beading, and agriculture plant production.”

Eighteen of the graduates were residents of Itireleng RFD, a specialised institution for clients with varying levels of physical and intellectual disabilities. The centre accommodates clients with visual impairment, either partial or complete, and medical conditions such as epilepsy, strokes, intellectual disabilities, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions.

The graduation ceremony was a moment of pride and accomplishment for the residents and their families, highlighting the importance of empowerment and skills development for individuals with disabilities.

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