The National Council of and for People
with Disabilities

Children with disabilities

Our work in respect of children with disabilities focuses on addressing rights violations and promoting their rights, all with the aim of and to contribute to an improved dispensation for this most vulnerable and exposed group of people in our country.

Rights violations and advancing the rights of children with disabilities are addressed through advocacy, lobbying and public education and awareness raising. We engage with government ministers and senior officials and collaborate with partner organisations and civil society leaders for the elimination of barriers preventing the social, educational, recreational and cultural inclusion of children with disabilities.

We muster and harness public support for our efforts to combat rights violations by utilising the mass media and various online social media platforms. These resources are also utilised for public education and awareness raising. Advocating for the rights of children with disabilities in the public domain requires awareness-raising strategies. Public education and awareness raising fosters respect for the rights and dignity of children with disabilities and is a prerequisite for enlisting public support and activation in redressing the harsh and extensive marginalisation, discrimination, stigmatization and exclusion that most children with disabilities in South Africa are subjected to. Most of our country’s children with disabilities are victims of compounded marginalisation, i.e. having a disability and suffering the deprivations of poverty.

The cause of children with disabilities is also advanced through our prominent work on legislation and government policies. We interrogate and comment on draft policies and Bills to ensure the best interest of children with disabilities is served. We therefore contribute to the development of policies and legislation impacting the lives of children with disabilities.

Matters relating to children with disabilities that receive our attention through advocacy and lobbying, public education and awareness raising and policy and legislation development are inclusive of the following:

  • The denial of the right of children with disabilities to an education
  • The exclusion of children with disabilities from early childhood development (ECD) programmes
  • Denying children with disabilities that have been the victims of abuse, sexual molestation and even rape, access to justice
  • Abuse and neglect in the hostels of special schools
  • The implications of the compounded marginalisation of poverty and disability children with disabilities are exposed to
  • The harsh realities children with disabilities face due to cultural superstitions about disability. The severe stigma and exclusion to the extent that they are kept out of sight and literally locked up in back rooms – the “hidden children”
  • The non-provisioning of assistive devices by state hospitals and clinics. (Like education, providing assistive devices is a constitutional obligation of government)
  • Facilitating the donations of assistive devices and other donations by companies to centres for children with disabilities
  • The unacceptably low levels of financial support to centres for children with disabilities resulting in appalling conditions at these centres with the children being deprived of any meaningful developmental/stimulation/rehabilitative programmes
  • The non-involvement by the Department of Basic Education in these centres. The vast majority of children at these centres are of school going age.
  • Running the  campaign