Brief History

Brief History

The Association was originally established in 1954 to meet the needs of farm workers in the Fish Hoek-Kommetjie-Noordhoek valley and surrounds, in order to address poverty, unemployment and lack of housing due to the rezoning of farmland to residential land.

• In the 1970’s the Association identified a need for care for both physically and intellectually challenged members of the community. A dilapidated building was identified and after funds raised, the building was restored, and a lease arranged with the Department of Public Works. This is how the Centre for People with Disabilities began to take shape which has developed today into accommodation for a work group with special needs run by Ocean View Association for Persons with Disabilities, a School for Learners with Special Educational Needs and at the time the headquarters for Fish Hoek, Kommetjie, Noordhoek Welfare Association.

• In 1982, it became apparent that there was a need for a special care facility for children with special needs. Funds were raised and an extension was added to accommodate children with special needs in a part time day care facility.

• In 1998, the Association extended its services to the nearby informal settlement then identified as Site 5, later to become the township of Masiphumelele and employed a Xhosa speaking social worker.

• In 2003 the social worker identified a need and started a group for children with special needs that met twice a week. This group slowly increased in numbers and it was evident that the small venue used was totally inadequate. Thus land was purchased with funding from the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust and the building of the first phase, a special day care centre, the Sinethemba Centre, so named by the parents meaning “we have hope”, was completed in March 2007.

• Once the building was completed the Association was able to re-locate the 17 children with special needs that attended the Special Care Centre in Masiphumelele to Sinethemba. The Association then had two Special Care Centres, Ocean View Special Care Centre and Sinethemba Special Care Centre in Masiphumelele.

• In 2009 the decision was made to amalgamate the two Special Care Centres due to extensive vandalism and break-ins experienced by Ocean View Special Care Centre. In February 2009 Ocean View Special Care re-located to Sinethemba Special Care Centre. The Centre then had 30 children with special needs attending the Centre on a daily basis.

• The Centre was designed according to the needs of special needs children and working very well, however we were border lining being overcrowded. An application was submitted to the Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope for assistance extending the Centre with an additional wing to relieve the pressure and to assist children on the waiting list.

• The Rotary Wing’s groundbreaking was on the 11th January 2010 and the building was completed in May 2010. The official opening of the Rotary wing of Sinethemba Special Care Centre was on the 2nd June 2010. Department of Health has agreed that Sinethemba Special Care Centre can accommodate 50 children with special needs.