At the end of 2014, the GPL Centre was finally officially recognized as a Special Needs School by the government and local authorities. This has been a long-term goal of the Centre which is now 21 years old. Among other advantages, recognition means that we are given a Grant-in-Aid each month from the Rodrigues Commission for Education. However, this grant is only an ‘aid’ and does not cover the totality of the expenses of the Centre and its 39 pupils and 7 teachers.
Unfortunately, two of our main funders have decided that, with the grant from Education, they no longer need to help us and thus have withdrawn their support. This leave us in rather a precarious position as, at the moment, we do not have guaranteed finances for this year, and are busy writing projects and sending out letters of assistance to all our contacts.
4 of our older pupils have left this year to follow a three year course at the “Centre Agricole Frere Remy” nearby. However, we already have seven new pupils:
Alexia, 10 years old, who was born prematurely and thus has developmental delays. As well as being small and immature, she has a visual impairment and learning difficulties, so she was finding it very difficult to cope in her primary school class. She is a friendly, inquisitive little girl who has settled in and is working well at her own level.
Peter, 5 years old, has delayed speech and behavioural problems as well as learning difficulties. He has begun to understand that inappropriate behavior is not appreciated in the Centre, and to accept our discipline – the first step towards helping him to concentrate and to learn.
Clery, 5 years old, has very little spoken language, as well as other developmental delays. As he did not attend pre-primary school from the age of 3, he has missed the social interaction of other children as well as the important pre-school activities that prepare a child for school. He is now happily catching up on these skills which will allow him to move on academically.
Barthelmy, now 7 years old, attended the GPL Centre for several years until he had a severe epileptic attack in August, 2013, which left him almost like a new baby, unable to move alone. He is now back on his feet, somewhat unsteadily, and has little hand control, but enjoys the social interaction with the other children.
Rosedelima , aged 8, has just moved in with her aunt after the death of her grandmother with whom she lived. Her new school immediately realized her difficulties and asked for her transfer to the GPL Centre. She is academically about year one of primary, but a friendly, helpful girl who is willing to make an effort.
Elie, aged 3, was born weighing 955gms, with developmental and intellectual delays. He has just begun to walk unaided, and has not yet developed spoken language. However, he is an inquisitive little boy who organizes everyone and makes his ideas known. Despite the fact that he has not used his voice for three years, he has already begun to vocalize through play activities, and I am confident that he will talk in the future.
Yann, aged 5, has been transferred from his first year of primary school due to his uncontrollable behavior in class. He is a happy, inquisitive little boy who loves to ask questions. However, he has some academic delays which need to be dealt with.