Mama Angel to the rescue

Botshelo Selogilwe

Botshelo Selogilwe

"When you strike a woman you strike a rock" is a controversial saying that warns people not to mess with the power of women.

Margaret Serache and Theresia Ralintja are living it. They have turned their experiences and challenges of having disabled children into a blessing.

After realising the difficulties that mothers with disabled children go through, they decided to form Ratanang Group for Children with Multiple Disabilities with other women. Their day care centre is based at the Cerebral Palsy Clinic at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

The centre will celebrate its 10th anniversary tomorrow. They have asked Mama Angel to donate funds to buy children's gifts, party packs and lunch for the day. The day will also be used to thank all the donors who have supported the centre in the past.

The celebration will be held at the Recreational Hall on the hospital premises at 9 am.

The centre takes care of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy and movement disorders caused by damage to the brain.

These children have difficulty moving their arms and legs properly and this affects their ability to sit, stand or walk. Some of these children have speech, hearing, poor vision and learning challenges.

Serache, the centre's general manager says: "I used to meet with other women when I took my child to a physiotherapist at the hospital. We decided to meet and share our problems. We formed a support group and approached the hospital management to give us a place for our centre.

"We realised that there is no place like this one in our community. So, the only option was to take the children to this home care.

"The bus collects the children from their homes from different parts of Soweto. Our day actually starts at 8am.

"We give the children breakfast, help them play with stimulating toys, massage and help them to exercise," says Serache.

The centre has seven caregivers and receives a subsidy from the Department of Health.

The activities of the centre include visiting severely disabled children at their homes.

The centre also brings the mothers of disabled children together and offers them moral and psychological support.

The centre also encourages mothers to speak freely about their children's disabilities and to discuss and share ideas on how to cope with their daily activities.