Day 3 – Elim Home
Running and managing an NGO already has its challenges, but being in a rural community, poses even more. Despite this, Elim Home, located in the rural town of Elim, just outside Bredasdorp, is providing wholistic nursing 24/7 as a residential care facility for the most severely intellectually and physically disabled children and young adults from disadvantaged communities.
Founded in 1963 by the Moravian Church of South Africa, the Home is one of only very few full-time residential facilities for disabled children in the Western Cape and was, in fact, the first and only home to accommodate black and coloured children at the time it was established.
The organisation is run by Director, Lucinda Cunningham, who has been with the facility for over seven years. Sister Lucinda has spent serval years in Europe where she worked as a mobile carer for the disabled. She returned to South Africa after her husband was relocated to Elim. Despite him now working in Cape Town, Lucinda has stayed on and travels to and from Cape Town every weekend.
Elim home as a facility, only has 50 beds but is mostly overcrowded due to the dire need for a care facility for these children. Their conditions vary from Cerebral Palsy, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy and more. Their ages range between the ages of 6 to 41. Lucinda explains that due to the fact that these children come from impoverished homes, many children are abandoned and left here.
Lucinda currently sits on the Board of the Western Cape forum for Disabilities and has vast knowledge of the inner workings of organisations such as this. Although the care facility is well supported through government services, financially they are struggling to make ends meet with the subsidy of the government grant, which covers less than forty percent of their annual budget. Roughly, ten parents contribute, they can hardly afford the R350 per month that is asked of them, making Elim Home largely dependent on the generosity of donors.
Because the care facility is located in such a remote area, the children don’t often get the chance to interact with visitors or to be spoilt, as children should.
As part of Heart FM’s 16 Days for Youth initiative, Elim Home was identified as a recipient for 2019. The Heart FM presenters and colleagues came out to feed, interact and entertain the residence and staff with a soup kitchen, party packs and entertainment by station DJ’s.
The children were overjoyed by the fun and attention for the day, but there are many ways to assist with the sustainable management of this home and here’s how you can help…
- Special needs beds
- Adult nappies
The 16 Days for Youth initiative, run by Denver Apollus, “At Heart FM we are truly representative of a diverse, vibrant and colourful community. We are a trusted member of the community, but we take this responsibility very seriously. With this, comes the unique opportunity to be agents of change, creating a platform for our listeners, partners and clients to be involved with and make a difference in our communities”.
For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/
Follow the journey on social media @heart104.9fm or @16DaysForYouth