History of the school
Tembaletu was founded as a school for “differently abled” children. In 1974 a small group of woman were concerned by the great need for a school that could cater for Xhosa speaking children with physical disabilities in the Cape townships. The school started out small – 5 children, and two teachers – as a day care centre on the grounds of the Guguletu Day Hospital, and slowly grew over the years once they had their own plot. It now stands proudly with its 19 classrooms, 8 offices, 3 therapy rooms, sick bay, a staff room, library, computer room, domestic science kitchen, general kitchen and dining hall. The most recent addition to the school is the delightful homely dormitory donated by Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF).
In 1996 Tembaletu was taken over by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Prior to that it was run as a non-government institution that relied on funds raised through donations from businesses, NGOs and private trusts for buildings, equipment, wheelchairs and other resources. While many of the schools basic needs are now met by the WCED, private funding, fundraising and donations are still required in order to offer transport services and to support the development of learning and therapy programs in the school.
As it stands, Tembaletu is only one of four special needs (LSEN – Learners with Special Education Needs) schools in the Western Cape offering education to Xhosa speaking children in their mother tongue. It is one of two that caters for learners with physical disabilities and is the only one that offers a mainstream curriculum (two others cater for learners with moderate to severe intellectual impairments and one is a school of skills for learners with learning difficulties). As a result, Tembaletu caters for learners accross education districts and buses in learners from Gugulethu, Langa, Nyanga, Phillipi, Delft, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha and surrounds, and even caters for learners from as far as Paarl, Stellenbosch, Da Noon, and Hout Bay in the school hostel. The schools buses are currently not wheelchair accessible and as such each wheelchair user has a wheelchair at home and at school, both of which are maintained at school.
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