Raising Amber Foundation brings hope to the disabled

DRIVEN by her  inability to find  a suitable school for her  daughter,  single mum  Christal van der Byl  founded the Raising Amber Foundation.

This was the culmination of a dream to open a  school that offers a mainstream curriculum for disabled children in East London.

Amber, 15,  has athetoid quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a  condition that affects her central nervous system and, as a result, has physically impaired her speech,  along with her gross and fine motor skills.

DRIVEN by her  inability to find  a suitable school for her  daughter,  single mum  Christal van der Byl  founded the Raising Amber Foundation Picture: SUPPLIED.

That aside, however, she is your typical 15-year- old teenager. She has taught herself to use her feet to paint, type, and write.

“I founded the foundation because of all the necessary equipment that Amber would need,” Van der Byl said.

She  named the foundation Raising Amber as her child’s needed change as she grew older.

“It meant that   the raising of funds was  an ongoing thing,” said Van der Byl.

Van der Byl said the foundation had as its  aim to build a school for the disabled due to a lack of  because there is a lack of facilities that specifically  catered for the disabled in East London.

“There are many centres that  look after kids during the day,  but nothing that educated them like in a real school environment.

“ I moved to Cape Town with Amber to get her into a mainstream school. “However, I became unemployed while I was there and had to move back. I have been working towards opening a school that accommodates disabled children ever since,” she said.

She said that the school will help raise awareness that, although those who were born with disabilities were different, they should be treated equally in our society.

“We are aiming at starting off as a centre that educates people of  all ages and then gradually work ourselves up to having classrooms –  from Grade 1 and so forth. We would also like to get a sports programme going to allow our kids to participate in sports like other children,”  Van der Byl said.

The foundation has played its part in the community by donated clothing, provided Easter and Christmas hampers  and assisted parents of children with disabilities.

“With all the positive feedback we have received, we have been able to assist others with disabilities to show the disabled, that there is only “able” in “disabled” and that they too can live normal lives,” Van der Byl said.

 

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