The Mariri Child Stimulation Centre held a tea party at Lansmore Hotel in Gaborone on Sunday where parents and different stakeholders came together under one roof in order to share their experiences on raising children with special needs. One of the parents that graced the event, Independent Certified Coach, speaker and Trainer Shato Nyaradzo encouraged the parents who have children with special needs to make sure that they have a vision. According to her, most people are living a life by default when they are supposed to live a life by design. She encouraged them to make sure that they have a vision to determine how their children are going to turn up to be. She asked them to introspect on what they see when they look at their children because the way they see their children with special needs is exactly how they are going to be.
She cited intentional motivational speaker Christian Nick Vujicic who was born without limbs but grew up to become one of the most successful men in the world despite the circumstances that he had. Even though he does not have limbs Vujicic travels the world where he motivates people about faith, the struggles that he went through and how without limbs he lives quite a normal life, able to do anything for himself and even taking care of his beautiful wife and children. He attributes all his success to his parents who have always told him that he was special from a very young age and that he is a blessing and will do great things. “Vision of the parents sustained him through the challenges, so you owe it to your child to have a vision,” she said. One of the proud parents of a child with special needs Hanna Lecha - who is an Inspirational Speaker, Leadership and Business coach - shared her experiences of raising a kid with special needs and having to make sure that she leads a normal life and has access to all the privileges that her other children have. She said it made her go through so much, and she is very aware that to some people it would have been like the end of the world.
“Raising a child with special needs comes at a cost, and it is better to pay now than later,” she said, adding that now that there are therapists and caretakers, making it easier to take the load off parents and at the same time train the children to be equally independent when they grow up. She urged parents to accept their situation and find means to live with it, making sure that the children have a fulfilled life just like any other. One of the parents Omphile Buchani said parents with special needs children should see gold or platinum when they look at their children with special needs because that is exactly what the children will become. Her wife sobbed when the husband shared that they are happy with the on-going therapy sessions of their child at Mariri Centre and that for the first time in four years their child uttered the words ‘mama’ and ‘goodbye’. They are very emotional and excited because they have been waiting for any word that can come out of his mouth even if it was an offence. “Our son Bonang really surprised us, and it was a moment that we really cherished,” he said. He added that though he does not have the speech, he has the ability to sing, something that astonished them. With that he encouraged parents to appreciate that there is always something special and extraordinary with their special needs child. Neo Ponwane of Mariri Child Stimulation centre said they aim to sensitise people about special needs of children and urged parents to bring them forth so that they can get the help that they need which will help them a long way in becoming independent people. The centre is the only one in Botswana that offers that kind of service. She said they admit children from a tender age of 18 months. She urged parents to bring them at that age because with that they have very positive transformation. The centre is piloting the program from South Africa.