2013 Youth Honoree Chaeli Mycroft of The Chaeli Campaign is an “ability activist” with a mission to change how the world views disability. Born with Cerebral Palsy, she started The Chaeli Campaign to be an advocate for other differently-abled children.
The Chaeli Campaign recently celebrated their 10th Anniversary. We are proud to support The Chaeli Campaign’s incredible work, and can’t wait to see what Chaeli will accomplish in another 10 years!
August 6 marked the 10th Anniversary of The Chaeli Campaign, a program in South Africa that was started by 2013 Honoree Chaeli Mycroft to ensure children with disabilities have an equal shot at a quality education.
“Education is not at all adequate for children,” Chaeli said. “This is especially the case for children with disabilities. Of the estimated 480,000 children with disability [in South Africa], 90% of these children do not have access to education.”
Chaeli is changing that. Since 2004, The Chaeli Campaign has helped more than 10,000 children gain access to educational and mobility opportunities, dramatically improving their ability to be independent. The Chaeli Campaign doesn’t just provide a child with a wheelchair; it asks what that child needs to thrive.
What is particularly unique about The Chaeli Campaign is its commitment to creating inclusive learning environments. At the Chaeli Campaign’s Early Childhood Development Center, able-bodied and differently-abled children learn and play together, helping them discover their own unique abilities, and appreciate the abilities of others.
“We believe that children with disabilities are catalysts for change in their families and communities,” Chaeli said, “and we need to advocate for a more inclusive society for the benefit of all.”
One of the best example of how beneficial an inclusive learning environment can be is the friendship between Boeta and Davina. 3-year-old Davina recently joined The Chaeli Campaign’s Early Childhood Development Center. She does not have a disability; but Boeta, one of her best friends, does.
Davina’s experience of a fully inclusive environment has helped her build confidence and appreciation of diverse abilities. When the class goes for a walk, Davina can be seen pushing her friend Boeta down the road in his wheelchair. For Davina, Boeta is a close friend at school who just happens to use a wheelchair to get around.
These types of friendships happen at The Chaeli Campaign every day.
Other people have started to notice the benefits of an inclusive environment, too. A parent recently asked The Chaeli Campaign to implement their Early Childhood Development program at their school. After four weeks of attending workshops and sharing ideas, more and more parents became excited about the idea of having able-bodied and differently-abled students learning side-by-side.
“The parents were alive with new knowledge and the principal would like us to do this program with her children and parents again next year,” said Olwethu Nqevu, a Chaeli Campaign volunteer.
Congratulations to The Chaeli Campaign on an amazing first 10 years. We can’t wait to see what will happen 10 years from now!