NORTHERN LIGHTS SCHOOL
The Northern Lights School is a school that strives to render a quality multi-disciplinary education to all educable cerebral palsied and physically challenged learners and to promote independent integration into society.
The school was started by an orthopaedic surgeon, Nigel Purry, who became aware of the need for an institution or school for the cerebral palsy patients he saw. With the help of his sister, Cunningham, they began the Purry-Cunningham Centre in Schauderville. The centre brought so much LIGHT to these special children in the Northern Areas that the Northern Lights School developed in July 1982. It has since grown from 1 teacher and 5 pupils to 48 staff members and 155 learners. Among the staff members are therapists and a nursing sister.
They take in children from the age of 3 to allow for early therapeutic intervention. They offer a mainstream curriculum from Grade 1 to Grade 12 as well as a parallel practical stream for juniors and seniors whose intellectual abilities are compromised. Sport for the disabled is also offered and some of their learners have stood out at national and international level.
The majority of the learners live with single parents or guardians of lower socio-economic status or living in townships. As there is no hostel at present at the school, the learners need to be bused in daily from areas such as: Kwazakhele, Motherwell, Despatch, North End, St Albans, Helenvale, Walmer Township, Zwide, to mention but a few. Two major fundraising projects on the go at the school are to provide new transport for the children and a hostel on premises to alleviate the transport problem.
Other projects on the agenda for the school is a Hydrotherapy pool, a new media centre with computers, projectors, television and video machines, wheelchairs, Equipment for the domestic science class and many more.
Birdi 4 Jemma is looking to assist with the transport crisis at the school. The buses transporting the children to school everyday generally breakdown and are in need of daily repairs. It would make a considerable difference in the children’s lives if they could travel to and from school in a safe vehicle and be on time.