Two teachers, Joan Goosen and Peggy Cathro, came together in 1978 to start a place for children with special needs.Initially it was made possible by Child Welfare, who agreed to allow Aurora to utilize a building of theirs. It was the old Clarendon Creche in Harrower Road, and it needed more than a little “elbow grease” to get it up to standard.
The Lawson Brown School Interact Club of 1977 stepped in to assist. Peggy managed to get a diamond pendant donated from Gerald Rathkolb, which was raffled to raise more funds. The Municipal Health Department eventually passed part of the building for use.
Chairs and tables were bought second hand with funds raised, and by February 1978 they were ready to open.
Marius Barnard was the guest at the Opening Ceremony. Colleen Steyn (a teacher) lifted children to and from school in her car until we were able to buy our first car – a station wagon from Ford.
We later started collecting children from the Elizabeth Donkin Hospital and this continued until their children’s ward was closed.
Both being teachers, these ladies went on the search of what was needed to help these children develop to their fullest potential. At that time, very little was available in South Africa and all literature, videos and help came from the USA and Europe.
Help was obtained for their specialised needs from the community of Port Elizabeth such as the local Rotary, Round Table and Lions Clubs to help with funding and for the promotion of the work being done with these often-forgotten children.
The numbers of children needing this type of care and stimulation continued to grow.
Under the guidance of our wonderful management committee and staff, we continue to give our children the best care available.