Trust – A story of Rainbows, Autism and Hope


Thabi Hlalele


“Red and yellow and pink and green

Purple and orange and blue

I can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow too


Listen with your eyes

Listen with your ears

And sing everything you see

I can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Sing along with me” – Peggy Lee


These were the words to a song we would sing at primary school. A sing along taught to help us learn and melodically grasp the kaleidoscope of the colours of the rainbow.

I remember being slightly confused by the notion or the suggestion even, in this case, in the lyrics that one could listen with their eyes and heart. As a 7 year old, I realised that I needed to TRUST that the “Big People” knew better. As a big person myself now, I understand the concept of artistic license.

Society teaches us to subscribe to the ideology of what “perfect” is. The perfect husband, perfect home, perfect family, the perfect everything. Ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes, but the reality is that real life is not always so romantic and perfect isn’t always so perfect. This is when we learn to TRUST in ourselves and not society’s norms or beliefs per say.

As a mother there are things that come instinctively to you and you will never hesitate to act on those instincts, as such we learn to TRUST our own instincts as women.


Sixteen years ago Nirasha Dhaniram gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, Mikhail. However, early during the cognitive stages of his development, Nirasha’s motherly instincts told her that Mikhail was different.

She had to TRUST in her profession as a psychologist to explore and try to better understand her son’s condition. After years of research and consultation, she discovered that Mikhail was in fact autistic.

In 2014 she established the Imbalito Hope College, a school for children with special needs. On Saturday the school hosted “South Africa’s Rainbow Walk for Autism” at the Moses Mabida Stadium. The event aimed to raise awareness on Autism as a spectrum disorder. The Rainbow theme was quite fitting when you think about the kaleidoscope of the rainbow and align it with how broad Autism is itself as a spectrum disorder.

In this world we will all have trials and tribulations, we deal with constant disappointments and failure and the only thing that keeps us going is HOPE. A hope restored in Bhavana Singh, a parent to a six year old pupil at Imbalito Hope College, whose journey began three years ago, a child often described as a miracle child, due to the remarkable progress he has made since joining the school.

There is hope, hope that when diagnosed early enough, children with autism can reach their full potential, right away, all the way, in a happy way. Advances in medical science have made it easier to diagnose and in some cases it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. If you feel your child is at risk, trust your gut, and get them screened. As the slogan goes….”I’m not naughty…..I’m Autistic”.

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