Through the centre, which is a non-profit organisation supported by the Department of Social Development, learners are equipped with training and skills such as needlework, baking, beadwork and paving, which gets them ready for work opportunities.
Most learners in the centre are from disadvantaged households, some of whom dropped out of school because of difficult circumstances.
Parents, including unemployed persons and children from around Upington, also receive basic literacy, numeracy, arts, crafts as well as basic computer literacy training at the centre.
To date, more than 22 learners have already gained experience in the area of organic food gardening, which produces vegetables for the centre.
“During dialogues with the Upington community, people with disabilities raised concerns ranging from the lack of support groups for parents of children with disabilities and the need for capacity building, educational needs and training,” the department said.
The launch of the centre is in line with the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WPRPD), as approved by Cabinet last year. The White Paper seeks to remove barriers to access and participation. It further calls for the creation of barrier-free environments, which requires collective action by law and policy makers, service providers, regulatory bodies, the private sector as well as organisations for people with disabilities.
After the launch, the Upington community will get an opportunity to talk to Social Development leadership on their socio-economic challenges through Project Mikondzo.