The Centre was established by Mr Matima Serumula due to the dire need for a safety net for the disabled children and youth in Tembisa. Before the conception of Phuthanang there was one institution in Tembisa to cater for young people with mental and physical disabilities. Yet their services were limited to a certain age group and their curriculum focused on foundation phase. Mr Serumula noticed a gap and he took it upon his hands to build an educational institution that will provide students with income generating skills, life skills. Phuthanang also cater for pupils of all ages.
A large number of children were received when the Centre started in 2007. Pupils ranging from slow learners to totally dependent young people. Operating alone, Mr Serumula used his own funds to look after the students. Providing life skills, training on income generating projects such as flower arrangements and decorations. They managed to survive for years without funding.
However as the number of children grew from 60 to more than 100, their special needs also grew. Demanding more resources and capacity to take care of them. The Centre pursed a number of ventures, trying to a secure and permanent facility for the students. For a very long time there had been numerous struggles with the municipality. The Centre had to move from one venue to another looking for a safe and secure premises.
Phuthanang then occupied a small church in Tembisa. But with a rapid growth of students the church was full to its capacity and the students were squashed. Both girls and boys shared a small rest room which was not in good conditions for students of their nature. We were not the only tenants in those un-walled premises which placed our students at risk of exploitation.
We were later evicted from the church so we used Mr Serumula’s house while we were searching for a place. Our story was covered by E-tv, Tembisan and our local radio station the voice of Tembisa. We still didn’t get any help. In our quest to find a safe place for our students we discovered a piece of land which is called portion 8 at 1 Kopanong section Tembisa. We were prompt to make an application requesting to temporarily occupy that piece of land and construct our temporary structure while we are still in search of a permanent land. Our request was granted and we are still occupying the land in Kopanong Section, Tembisa.
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