I paid Khuthala Mfebe (28) and her daughter Esona Mbali Mfebe (4) a visit in Tyelerha, Eastern Cape. She shared her story with us to reveal how hard life can be for children with disabilities in rural areas.

Esona arrived earlier than her expected due date and from the moment she was born she did not cry, or behave like a normal baby – instead she had uncontrollable seizures. She spent two weeks in hospital and doctors found out that she had Cerebral Palse.

“She was discharged after two weeks and I did not notice anything unusual until I saw her flopping neck. I became very aware that my daughter is disabled after a year, anda scan showed that she had water on the brain,” says Khuthala.

She started treatment for her epilepsy in 2009 and there has been no improvement in her condition. Esona has difficulty eating and can only swallow soft food.

Challenges

“Life is very challenging and it is difficult for me to travel with her as I am using public transport, and the chairs do not accommodate her,” says Khuthala. Every time she wants to go town she has to leave her daughter with her grandmother. “As a single, unemployed mother I am dependant on a social grant and my biggest wish for 2013 is to find employment.” She hopes to enrol her daughter in a school that caters for children with special needs and she wants to buy her a wheelchair that is suited for the gravel roads they travel on in their rural surroundings. “ I have asked a counsillor and social workers for help but no one has answered my plea.”

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