Pupils travel to Western Cape school

Nomompondo Plaatjie
THREE young deaf pupils from Jeffreys Bay are forced to attend school in the Western Cape because there is no facility close by.
The trio are enrolled at the Delabat School for the Deaf in Worcester.
Joshua Jacobs, 11, started at the school before his third birthday. Elerise Kiewits,13, joined him three years ago after Joshua’s mother recommended the school to her parents.
Donald Hendricks, 13, has been in Delabat for almost five years.
The three youngsters are now home for the school holidays and are overjoyed to spend time with their families.
Joshua, who enjoys mathematics, said he liked being home and wished he could stay a little longer.
Elerise, who likes working with computers, said she did not mind travelling.
“I’m enjoying the school holidays,” she said.
Donald likes drama classes and loves playing soccer. He also wished his school was closer to his home.
The Delabat School for the Deaf offers mainstream subjects as well as South African sign language. It offers the same subjects as the mainstream schools up to Grade Nine. From Grades 10 to 12 it offers Afrikaans, English, CAT, consumer studies, mathematics literacy, English graphics and life orientation.
Principal Pieter Cook said it was always a challenge to find a suitable school for deaf children in most towns and cities. Like the three Jeffreys Bay children, most deaf pupils do not have schools close to their homes. He said small children sometimes suffered emotional trauma and could even experience rejection when they were so far away from home.
The trio is said to be doing well at school. According to Cook as children grow older they become more agile and equipped to deal with school. He also added that the disability is as individual as the person suffering from it and will affect each pupil differently.
The youngsters said they realised they had to go to school but missed home.
Cook said: “Being away from one’s family is never the best option; home should always be the first option.
“Unfortunately, that is not always possible.”

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