Mama Sophia’s Pathways, a registered non-profit organisation situated in Marquard in the Free State, was established with the aim of empowering individuals living with moderate to severe mental and physical disabilities with the skills to become as independent as possible, regardless of their challenges. Central to this is an intensive stimulation programme designed to help learners acquire as many functional skills as possible.
The school started out in 2001 as a day-care centre in the Marquard community run by Sophia Makoetla, or Mama Sophia as she was affectionately known, and a group of dedicated volunteers who made it their mission to look after these vulnerable children and young adults. Their numbers soon swelled to 50.
When Mama Sophia passed away in 2014, Sparta didn’t hesitate to take up the baton and continue the good work she started. At this stage there was no formal, structured curriculum in place and Sparta decided to collaborate with Pathways, a non-profit, private special education school serving special-needs children. The Pathways programme provides meaningful stimulation with a daily routine that gives students (aged 4 to young adults) structure and a sense of belonging while realising their potential. Faeeza Khan, the school’s principal, is a qualified Occupational Therapist who lives by the words of Valerie Pefia: “Occupational Therapy: turning can’t into I can, hopeless into hope and impossible into possible”.
Most of the parents can’t afford the minimal school and transport fees, and the school only receives a small government grant. To keep their doors open, Mama Sophia’s is dependent on the generous support from Sparta, its partners and donors in the form of financial contributions, building materials, playground and classroom equipment, etc.
If you would like to get involved, kindly contact Faaeza Khan on [email protected].
NPO number: 153-412