Background: Parents of children with disabilities have faced difficulties in looking after their children, be it socially, economically and financially. Parents in rural areas are mainly left with a huge burden, as there is a lack of services and support from both the state and non-governmental organisations. Parents in Sekhukhune district, a rural area in Limpopo province of South Africa, face challenges in raising their disabled children related to lack of resources and lack of services at their disposal.
Objectives: This study focuses on the experiences and life circumstances faced by parents of children living with different types of disabilities at Lehlaba Protective Workshop in Sekhukhune district of Limpopo province, South Africa.
Method: The study consisted of 14 participants who are parents of children living with disabilities. An interview guide with a set of questions was utilised to gather data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and themes that emerged were grouped together.
Results: Themes that emerged from the data showed that most of the participants had varying understandings on the causes of disabilities to their children. The participants also were of the view that a ‘cure’ for disability was available medically, spiritually or through traditional African medicine. The study also brought the notion of absent fathers, as most men do not want to be associated with children who are disabled. Stigmatisation of the parents was also a theme that the study revealed. The parents are subjected to name labelling as they are viewed to be practising witchcraft or to be paying for their sins they committed.
Conclusion: Parents of children with disabilities are in their own battle in raising their children. There is a lack of support structures available for parents of children living with disabilities. There is a lack of legislation available for protecting and promoting the rights of children with disabilities. The researchers concluded that raising a child with a disability is expensive, time-consuming and straining.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019