Teen works to remove stigma associated with disabilities

SK Gibson Sifuba (14) is determined to inspire others who might have challenges with disabilities.

Sk Gibson Sifuba (14) from KwaZakhele suffered a brain injury and was diagnosed with a learning disability after a car accident in 2018. He was transferred to Lonwabo School for Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) in Motherwell.

As a result of the trauma he experienced, he lacked self-confidence and often doubted himself.

With the help of speech therapy, and joining Sophisticate Models last year, SK gradually began gaining confidence.

He says he also received a great deal of support from Liezel Steenkamp from Pro Design Photographers, which he is thankful for.

To further improve his confidence, SK began competing in modelling competitions and has done exceptionally well.

Last year, he was featured in Pretty Little Poser Model Magazine, a modelling magazine based in the United Kingdom, and he won a bronze medal, as well as the people’s choice award, as part of the magazine’s various competitions.

Earlier this year, he was the runner-up in the Mr and Miss Eastern Cape Teen and recently won in the males’ age 14 to 16 category of the Face of PPMC Magazine Photogenic and Cover Model competition.

“I have learnt so much from modelling and competing in competitions. I have also gotten my self-confidence back,” said SK.

In March this year, he competed in the Mr and Miss Eastern Cape Primary School, where he impressed the judges during the interview process and passed the first round of the competition.

SK says he is hoping to win the competition and become an ambassador for his school since his school’s slogan: ‘Impossible is Nothing’ has inspired him to follow his dreams regardless of his disability.

“I want to represent my school and show the world that children living with disabilities can also achieve great things, and they should not limit themselves because of their disabilities,” says SK.

To prepare for the competition, he was required to embark on a charity project.

SK says he had decided to volunteer at a day care, in the hope that he could impact the lives of young children.

With help from his older brother, Ntando, who is a pupil at KwaZakhele High School, he handed out soup, bread, and oranges to the little children at Solakha Ikamva Day Care in Wells Estate.

SK says they had a great experience singing and dancing with the children, ending the day singing ‘Peace in Our Land’ by Chicco and various other artistes, to inspire and motivate their growing minds.

SK says since his mother, Sonia, and his church, St Peter’s Catholic Church in Swartkops, taught him about the importance of ubuntu, he has always believed that young people were required to give back to their community.

“Giving back to the community and volunteering your time is a great way of showing humility. Also knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life feels good,” says SK.

He says he would like to thank the staff at Solakha Ikamva Day Care, especially teacher Porcia Daniso, for their warm welcome. SK says he would be visiting the school again. –IOL

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