With our connection with The Robin Hood Foundation the consultants are often invited to go along and experience some of the touching things Kim and her team do. Thursday 2nd October was no different. I was asked if I wanted to go to Ethembeni School’s Carnival Day and I had no idea what Ethembeni was about and what they did but blindly said yes I’d do it. Little did I know that it would have such a massive impact on me, and more importantly the children of Ethembeni.
For those who have never heard of Ethembeni, I’d suggest giving them a look at the link below.
Ethembeni is a school for the visually impaired and the disabled. Their aim is to give children the education and social connection they deserve whilst providing special care and attention to each and every child.
The Robin Hood Foundation organised a carnival day for the children, I don’t know who was more excited; them or me. Whilst the children were diligently waiting in a line for the day to begin, a chosen few were asked to come forward and accept at least 5 brand new walking frames. It was an absolute joy to see these kids gracefully accept their new aids and give up their old home-made wrought iron box-frames to something lighter and more comfortable. It was at this point that my heart leapt for them and I could not hold back the tears. The expression on the children’s faces will be with me for a long time. They were so happy to be able to move with greater comfort.
There was a carnival like atmosphere with a train and cart the kids could ride on, a motorised swing and at least 5 jumping castles. There was even a clown walking around surprising the kids with balloon animals – I was tempted to ask for a poodle! After a quick word of thanks from the Principal the children were let loose and joyous chaos erupted. I walked around and was absolutely astounded at the mobility of these students.
There were a lot of children with varying disabilities, some were completely wheelchair bound, others had leg braces and crutches, there was, of course, the kids with walking frames and then there were children hobbling on their bottoms. Don’t let this image fool you though. These kids knew their playground and every step or bump was easily side-stepped. An interesting sight to see was the blind children being lead around the school by their helpers. The helper would be just about anyone who was near enough, therefore completely interchangeable, and there was this unwritten trust and loyalty that I don’t see in “everyday folk.”
The swing was a big hit and many of the special needs children found the feeling of going around at speed and the wind caressing them so overwhelming that they could not help but burst into laughter! I stood atop the yard and overlooked the children and could not help say, “Gosh, I’ve got it good.”
After the pizza, the DJ and dancing, candyfloss and popcorn and countless other gifts the children were truly appreciative.
There has got to be more to life than an upset client, an outstanding debt, a traffic jam, an empty battery, a missed business opportunity, a disgruntled colleague – these are all silly things! I had an immense sense of well-being around the children. Their smiles were so infectious. I thought that I do not know hurt like these kids. They know hurt like no other, the amount of bad the world has thrown at them because they don’t fit into a perfect mould. These children have overcome vast obstacles in their lives. I’ve read countless CV’s where the candidates have said that they’re flexible, I now know the true meaning of flexibility. For these children it is always fight or flight and they are fighting hard and they are winning.
The Ethembeni School visit was a truly inspiring day and I know I will always move forward with them in mind.
Simon, Pro Appointments
To check out their website please click here
Or click here to go to their facebook page to see some of the pictures from our day out
To get into contact with our charity organisation The Robin Hood Foundation click here