Bloemfontein – Jean-Claude Smit, 17, a deaf pupil from De La Bat School in the Western Cape, has been elected as the first Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament Speaker with a disability.The Department of Social Development described Smit’s new role in a statement as a “progressive step in the advancement of the interests and rights of people with disabilities”.
The department said this year’s Children’s Parliament, held at the Free state Legislature, will tackle issues surrounding the protection of children.
The newly minted Speaker said he wanted to use his term to help find ways to help children who face challenges at home.
“Many children are exposed to bad things in their homes, like abuse and parents who abuse drugs and alcohol. These children then bring their experiences to school, leading to bullying, peer pressure and the formation of gangs in schools,” he said.
The Children’s Parliament sessions will end on Wednesday.