With the 85th birthday celebration of Jan Kriel School, we look back at how much the school has grown. In 1937 Mrs Kriel, in honour of her son, Jan Kriel, established a school for children with Epilepsy.
Today the school also caters for learners with development delays, learning problems, visual-, auditory or sensory impairments, certain medical conditions and physical disabilities.
This year, Rachel Struwig started Grade 1 at Jan Kriel School. Rachel and her brother, Nathan, both suffer from Tuberous Sclerosis (TS), a rare genetic condition that causes tumours in major organs. Because of TS, Rachel has Epilepsy and seizures would happen daily lasting up to 8 minutes. Growing up involved a lot of adjustment to daily life that many parents don't have to endure. At the end of Grade R, it was time to start applying for Grade 1. Rachel was accepted at various schools, but later rejected due to her medical condition. She is by no means intellectually impaired, but requires additional assistance with motor skills and most mainstream schools are simply not equipped.
“12 schools failed to welcome our child - it was heart breaking”. - Désiréé (Mom)
Rachel started home-schooling to keep her up to date on learning but she missed friends and social interaction. In February 2022, Rachel was able to start at Jan Kriel School.
“We had so many doors slammed in our faces, but the Lord took the hinges off at Jan Kriel School and she was welcomed!”
“The teachers, assistants and medical staff have changed our lives. Having therapists on-site to help her develop holistically is exactly what she requires. It has helped us as a family tremendously having therapy part of her schooling - we are so blessed. Every year it was a constant struggle to secure her education for the next year and fnally we don't have to worry anymore. Every year we pray for the right path to be available for our children – we are so blessed that the Lord is involved in our journey.
People still say 'don't worry, they will grow out of it', but we have made peace with it. I believe the Lord blessed us with these beautiful children because we were the right parents for them”