An offshoot of the original J C Merkin School in Soweto, the Ithembelihle Lsen School in Primrose was established to cater for the needs of various children who are physically disabled. Admitted children include those with athrogryposis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, phocomelia, poliomyelitis, and spina difida, as well as amputees. These children are admitted to the school by doctors, social workers, teachers, and parents.
The boarding school is partially state-aided, whilst it mostly relies on support from private entities for the majority of its requirements, and is open to children of all races.
The school’s environment is peaceful, favourable to the high-quality level of education they provide.
With regard to their broad array of building facilities, the school is able to enrich the children’s lives with different activities and learning functions. At present, there are just less than 200 children enrolled at the school. This number grows at a decent rate, due to the fact that the school admits learners throughout the year, and not just at the beginning.
As an addition to quality education, the school also participates in various arts and culture activities, including the African Arts Festival, held annually in Johannesburg. The school also has its own dance group and choir that both participate at various events and functions. Further the children are encouraged to participate in sporting activities that they are capable of playing, despite their disabilities. Some of them are selected to participate in the South African National Sports Championships, held at different venues on an annual basis. Some of them have, at these events, broken South African records for their age groups.
The essential goal of the school is to equip each child with a well-rounded academic, life, and physical education of the highest possible quality, ensuring optimal development and utilisation of all talents and enabling them to integrate themselves into mainstream society.
We have, over the years, supported the Ithembelihle Lsen School through our various feeding scheme programmes and charity drives. In July 2011, we donated blankets to the school, as there was a shortage at the time. In October 2010, we visited the school as part of a feeding scheme being run. The children enjoyed a filling meal, and we had the opportunity to learn more about the lives they live, and where they came from. In early 2012, we collaborated with Ingersoll Rand to make a donation of approximately R 20,000.00 in food and groceries that they required. The donation was gratefully received.