Four-year-old Sisanda Chilli, was born with Cerebral Palsy and because her development was different it caused difficulties in her learning and interacting with other children. When Phumzile Mngadi, a SmartStarter trained by TREE from Umdoni district, started her playgroup in August 2017, she was determined to help improve Sisanda’s life. In rural societies disability is often kept a secret, with many disabled children being hidden away. However, when Sisanda along with five other children joined the playgroup in August, Phumzile was excited.

Sisanda’s condition limits the control she has over some of the muscles in her body. When she first joined the playgroup, she was unable to talk or feed herself. Hopes were low of her being able to do things for herself. After only a few months, Sisanda is already showing improvements, especially with her fine motor skills. She is now able to play with other children. She can throw and catch a ball, and even feed herself. She loves to play and laughs a lot! Although Sisanda cannot yet talk, she can utter a few words and even attempts to sing along and clap her hands during group time.

“Together with SmartStart, we have given Sisanda a chance to embrace life,” says Zinhle Mhlongo, the Programmes Manager from TREE. “Sisanda is able to enjoy a normal well-balanced life. SmartStart has given her the power to succeed!” she exclaims.

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