PACSEN (Parents for Children with Special Education Needs) held a huge Xmas party at Jo’burg Zoo in December.
It was the first time they had attempted such a large event and it was an enormous success. Schools came from near and very far to join in the joyous event. Children from under privileged homes happily mingled with deaf learners and children with Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities, epilepsy and the sight impaired. PACSEN’s aim was to give the children a Xmas party to remember and they certainly achieved that.
For many of the kiddies it was the first time they had been to a Zoo and seen animals up close. Wheelchairs lined up next to the Tractor Ferry to take the kiddies up to the lions, polar bears and gorillas. It was the only Xmas party many of the children would have due to their impoverished circumstances.
PACSEN has three main aims:
Their mission is to help the kiddies obtain the best education possible in order that they can one day take their rightful place in society.
PACSEN depends on people in the communities to help with clothing and other items for the children and they receive a lot of support from The Lions.
Funding for the Xmas Party came from Avis, My School, Catholic Schools in Gauteng, and private people that sponsored individual children. Despite extensive fund raising there was still a shortfall. Many service providers reduced their rates but some ideas had to be shelved such as the toys.
In order to keep the expenses down the parents mucked in at the event and even dragged their families and friends along to help out. They packed sweets and made hotdogs, they painted sunflowers and butterflies on faces and some of them dressed up in character costumes to make it a truly fairy tale experience. They slogged away behind the scenes and without them it would never have been the success that it was. One of the parents managed to get PACSEN on SABC 1, probably the first time that the watching audience had ever heard of them.
Jennie Hoff, the work-a-holic CEO of PACSEN thanked all the teaching staff who came with the children. Without their support in school, and at the party, the children would not have had such freedom and fun. Jennie was blown away by the kindness and generosity of companies and their staff. Instead of just giving money and writing it off, they got involved. Avis donated generously towards the event and Jessica Branco, AVIS Social Responsibility, was there in her AVIS uniform helping out and feeding Hotdogs to the excited kids. She was a wonderful example of how people in business and the community can get involved.
PACSEN is now getting a fundraising committee together to raise funds for this year’s event in Pretoria. If you would like to know more about PACSEN contact Jennie Hoff on email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.: 012-333-0149 - Fax: 086-531-8325