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THE dream of 11-year-old Paul Jarvis to meet President Jacob Zuma became a reality yesterday

Paul, a Grade 10 pupil at Frances Vorwerg School in Haddon, Johannesburg, initiated Zuma’s visit to the special school and was the first pupil to shake the president’s hand.

“I feel good. My dream came true,” he said.”

Paul, who cannot write his name because of his psychological condition, gave the president a sketched portrait of him (Zuma) that he drew.

DREAMER: Paul Jarvis of Frances Vorwerg School with his invited guest, President Jacob Zuma. The president responded by honouring the invite. This is a school for cerebral palsied and learning disabled children at Haddon, southern Johannesburg. With them is Thuliswa Nkabinde. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU


Paul’s foster mother, Thea Jarvis, said it took Paul about 20 minutes to make a sketch.

“I have 19 foster care children, including Paul, but he is one in a million,” Jarvis said. “I would give him my heart.

“Paul is just amazing. I’m happy his dream came true. He was worried they would bring a fake president.”

Zuma hailed Paul as an amazing child.

“While he was walking me around, he put his hand in his pocket and took out some coins, which added up to R10,” Zuma said. “He handed them to me and said I should give them to a poor child.

“I realised what type of a person he was. He is bright, clear, loving and embracing. He is aware that there is a child who is in need. I promise to find the child and will add my money and give it to him.”

Zuma was also moved when he heard about the plight of children with special needs.

“I received an emotional briefing about the situation here. There are many citizens with various conditions who need greater care. There are just about 40 schools nationally. The matter has been taken to heart.

“All government departments involved will come together and we will discuss this.”

Zuma and the children did the diski dance.

“I am happy to see that these kids are as excited as we all are. I don’t think we, as a country, can celebrate while they do not,” he said.

Zuma promised to take all 382 pupils to one of the 2010 stadiums.

The school’s spokesperson, Elize Bekker, said: “It was just an amazing feeling. It still feels like a dream. The president has got magic around him. He gave us hope.”

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