King George VI School & Centre for Children with Physical Disabilities – Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Jul - 24 2017 | no comments | By

The Academy Award winning documentary, “Music by Prudence”, is now available for sale on Amazon.com. The school does not receive any financial support from the sale of this movie.

If you are moved by Prudence’s story and would like to help others like her, please consider making a tax deductible donation now. Thanks!

  In a society where the economy is in tatters, unemployment is rife, AIDS has made orphans of many and almost every family has lost a loved one, the chance for a child with disabilities to have a happy childhood is almost nil.  In Zimbabwe children with disabilities are often treated extremely badly, at best they lead a listless life with no opportunities; at worst they are abused and neglected.  In this society what chance does Primrose, an AIDS orphan with no hands, and Prudence with both legs amputated have? 

    King George VI School for children with physical disabilities offers children from all over Zimbabwe a haven from the harsh reality of a world that thinks they are worth nothing.  It is a place where children can be children again, and can learn to play and to have fun; a place where they are valued.  Many of these children have tragedies in their lives that you would think they could never overcome – – a little girl discovered she was an orphan when no one came to collect her at the end of the semester, another abused by the uncle in whose care she has been left,  another who is an extraordinary composer and singer whose family has never bothered to hear her sing.

 

    At the school the children are taught to be independent.  This means not only taking care of their personal needs, but also clothes washing, cooking, shopping, gardening and cleaning their living quarters.  Everyone pitches in and does what they can.  The youngsters are grouped by houses with a house parent, and everyone’s skills are utilized to get the work done. This extraordinary school, which is full of creativity, light and laughter, gives its students the chance to achieve things they, and we, would never think possible. The motto for the school is NEVER GIVE UP words which have been made into a song by the Liyana band, KGVI’s biggest success story.   

The school has had many success stories: Sindele a deaf student who got a Business degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and now teaches business at the school; Pharis studied music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts; and the school’s secretary Precious who has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair.  Precious has very little use of her hands and has to have someone else hold the telephone, but she can find badly needed supplies in a country where the shortages are very scarce.  These are just a few of the many extraordinary youngsters.
    One of the amazing success stories the school has achieved is its band, Liyana.  This year the group of eight students, five in wheelchairs, two on crutches and one deaf, took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled. The amazing thing about this band is its ability to get the audience to forget the disability and see only the entertainment.  In 2006 Liyana toured Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands as their prize for the competition and in 2009 they spent a month in America wowing and inspiring audiences in California and New York.