INCLUSION, INTERGRATION and EMPOWERMENT
Chameleon skin has a superficial layer, which contains pigments, and under the layer are cells with guanine crystals.
Colour change in chameleons has functions in camouflage, but most commonly in social signaling and in reactions to temperature and other environmental conditions. The relative importance of these functions varies with the circumstances, as well as the species. Colour change signals a chameleon's physiological condition and intentions to other chameleons.
( Wikipedia )
And these lovely lizard like creatures are the perfect symbol to capture our philosophy behind the Kurt Fearnley Special Needs Unit at Ruben Centre. The social signalling that goes on between the mothers, children and the wider community truly lights them up and identifies them as truly living.
The chameleon’s ability to change colour depending upon the factors highlighted (red) above, highlights just how important and sensitive living things are to the social and physical environment.
Ruben Centre is the one stop shop. Nearly thirty projects are currently alive and well within the Centre. The interrelatedness of these projects is massive as it is for the beneficiaries of the projects.
Health, social interaction, education in many forms, communication between the projects, emotional and financial wellbeing of the beneficiaries of all ages is very real and directly impacts on the outcomes achieved. Ruben Centre is a microcosm of the outside world that surrounds it.
Three and half acres of land is home to well over three thousand people each working day and somehow, everyone is mixing, playing, negotiating, learning, sharing, in a way that blows away any notion of mere coexistence.
And there in the very physical Centre of Ruben is the Special Needs Unit where about fifty children are imitating the chameleons and reacting to and changing dramatically because of their social , emotional and physical world.
From the physical heart of the Centre, they can go out to all the different projects and services. The clinic, the school, the music studio, hall for physical workouts, art studio, kitchen and dining area and vocation training area are all accessed and like the chameleons they are changing and adapting with these environments.
Inclusion and integration is transforming these children.
It is far from all one-way traffic as many students, parents, teachers, therapists and visitors come into the Unit to interact with the children.
These special children symbolize the spirit and vision of the Ruben Centre,’ For a just and Empowered Mukuru community.” as their empowerment is as visible as the colourful, changing and radiant chameleon skin. It is an empowerment initiated and stimulated by their environment and total integration into all aspects of socialization.
Ruben Centre is truly the place for all.