A special team for a special school

The Thuthukani School Management Team with the trophy for best special school - Lizl van Rooyen, Bathokozile Zulu, Trish Harel, Alta De Wet, Thabile Nkalanga, Nomsa Nene, Marthie Combrinck and Tanya Girvin

AT a recent Provincial School awards function, Thuthukani Special School in Empangeni received an award for the best Special School in the Uthungulu District.

Thuthukani also won a Certificate for Excellence in School to Work Linkages from the Uthungulu District, which recognised the schools’ ‘dedication to service and performance beyond the call of duty’.

‘Both the school governing body and management team would like to thank each and every member of staff for their dedication and commitment to the task of providing quality education to the 356 learners with intellectual disability who are enrolled at our school,’ said Thuthukani spokesperson Tanya Girvin.

Thuthukani caters to children with intellectual disability aged six to 18 years.

It has grown significantly since it was opened in February 1981, by Mrs Jo James, and today is a sprawling school on a sugarcane farm just outside Empangeni which accepts pupils from Empangeni, Richards Bay, eNseleni, KwaMonambi, eSikhaweni, Ngwelezana, and other rural areas.


‘We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the community, particularly for the annual Thuthukani Golf Day which takes place on 24 May,’ she said.

‘We would also like to encourage Zululanders to join our ‘Sponsor a Child’ programme, which costs just R120 per month and allows you to guarantee the school fees of one of our learners, many of whom are financially disadvantaged,’ she said.

The learners are all intellectually disabled and come from multicultural, multi-language backgrounds, and often have more than one disability.

The main aim of the school programme is to build pupils’ self-esteem and ensure they leave the school as independent as possible, equipped with skills they can use to contribute to their communities.

On a more serious note, Tanya noted the school has to raise more than R500 000 during the remainder of this year to keep the doors open.

To help contact her on 082 5596189 or email [email protected]

Laurie Smith

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