Lifestyle & Parenting Blog
I will never forget the first appointment I had with the Carel du Toit Centre (CdT) in 2012, me, a desperate mom of a hearing impaired child, seeking intervention and support. A few months later my son received grommets, I started attending weekly parent guidance and my son was enrolled to commence Gr. R at The Carel du Toit Centre in 2013.
Our year at CdT was absolutely phenomenal, my son received all the support he needed. Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Parent Guidance, Social Work Services, Counselling and Educational Psychology Services, classroom of 6 – 8 children and a hands-on teacher with lots of one-on-one focus.
Having have worked as a fundraiser (many moons ago!) for an organisation with a budget of R2 000 000, I understood the enormous challenges a non-profit organisation like the CdT Centre has to overcome to ensure their continued services. This drove me to form relationships with the Trust Team.
This past Friday whilst waiting for a parenting workshop to begin, I popped in to the Trust office at CdT. I beamed with pride whilst listening to Kim Simpson’s enthusiasm as she filled me in about her achievements in the past 2 years. You see I placed Kim at the Centre when I was still in recruitment. I’ve seen her blossom within her role as Assistant Fundraiser under the mentorship of Valerie van der Merwe (CdT Fundraiser). Kim is aiming to exceed her target for this year, an enormous challenge when considering the economy and the fact that most people are tightening the purse strings…
Whilst chatting to Valerie and Kim about their fundraising I was again reminded how this team keeps this machine, better known as CdT, well oiled and operational! Their efforts and commitment shines through – they speak of their work with great pride and passion.
We often, as parents, look at the school and acknowledge the amazing development in our children, we acknowledge all the people who work with our children, but have we ever given much thought to the people working in the Trust office? They are the ones stressing about school finances, the fact that the school desperately need funding to ensure continued operations i.e. salaries, professional services and transport.
Currently the Carel du Toit Centre’s budget is just a few rand short of R4 000 000. School fees are based on the parent’s income, thus enabling children from all backgrounds an opportunity to attend this world class institution.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is raise funds? You are exposed to constant rejection, applications are declined, sometimes you wait up to 3 years before funding is disbursed to your organisation. Tapping into the international market is another area where great support is available, but reaching the right institutions, the right people requires A LOT of research, networking and did I mention research!
Going hand in glove with fundraising is the marketing of CdT. Kim van Niekerk has done an amazing job with changing the face of the Centre. Now when I log on to the CdT website I am encouraged and inspired by a video of a young girl talking about her experience as a student at the Carel du Toit Centre. Now when I log onto the Centre’s Facebook page I am informed with useful content and updates of school events and achievement of children.
You may ask, why am I writing a blog about THIS side of The Carel du Toit Centre. Well even though my son no longer attends the school, I still consider myself a CdT Parent. Where possible I attend the workshops for parents and professionals, always looking for an opportunity to “up skill and be informed”.
The Centre has played a big part in my son’s successful placement at his current mainstream school. You see the school also host an annual workshop for teachers where children leaving the school will be placed. This workshop allowed my son’s current teacher to better understand the transition from special needs, 6-8 kids in a class which catered for children with hearing loss (observation rooms, soundproof rooms, all therapist and audiologists on hand) to a school with 30 kids in a class, a school that has not been set-up for children with a hearing impairment.
I beamed with pride at the Ndiyeva Conference when one of the keynote speakers, an internationally renowned professor, applaud the Centre for their work, acknowledging that CdT is on par with some of the best schools in the world for hearing impaired children! Given the context and history of South Africa and the diverse background of the children and families at the school, this affirmation speaks volumes…South Africa should be very very proud of The Carel du Toit Centre’s achievements.
In light of this I want to thank everyone at The Carel du Toit Centre for their passion, their commitment and continued strive to bring first world services, ideas and interventions to our children and their families. I want to thank them for always representing the country, advocating at the highest level for newborn screening and their regular attendance, presentations and representation at international conferences focussing on paediatric hearing loss and interventions.
Again, I am drawn to the small team, always operating in the background, ensuring that the services are realised, ensuring that the school has a staff compliment of top professionals and world class equipment and facilities, the Trust Team. Thank you for all that you do!
In 2013, 27 children graduated from the Centre, of which 8 went to mainstream school (including my son), 3 went to schools for the deaf (oral schools) and 12 went to special needs schools.
The Centre has achieved significant successes in their 41 year history and I am proud to have had my small family, be a part of their success in 2013.
Today I want to encourage you to consider becoming a donor even if it is only R50/month. Alternatively I want to encourage you to share this blog with anyone who in your opinion, may be in a position to support the school financially. They changed the way I view the world, I now recognise the infinite potential of ALL children, all they need is for us to believe in them and to NEVER give up!
Join me in Becoming a Donor Today!
Account Name: Carel du Toit Centre
Account Number: 390611374
You may also contact the Fundraising Team directly, Valerie@careldutoit.co.za. It is in your power to make a difference and to be the difference…