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Rand Aid's Outreach Programmes

Not only does Rand Aid assist indigent elderly and men suffering from substance abuse, but the organisation also performs various outreach work within its community. Rand Aid’s outreach programmes include:

Thembalami reaches out to Alex residents

Rand Aid’s Thembalami Care Centre has commenced with an outreach programme in Alexandra, Johannesburg, to further assist elderly residents in need.

The aims of the programme are to assist pensioners to remain within the community as long as possible; meet and socialise with other members in the community; either share skills or learn new ones; have lunch together; be empowered about the rights of an older person; receive spiritual upliftment; assist with any kind of problems the attendee is experiencing; education with regards to ageing, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; provide information about various policies, and to provide intergenerational programmes that children can also attend.

The programme has grown rapidly since starting in January 2010. Thembalami has now joined forces with Friends for Life, an organisation dedicated to helping people living with or affected by HIV/Aids throughout South Africa. The partnership will focus on assisting seniors who take care of HIV/Aids children.

Thembalami’s service centre is now open on Wednesdays, mainly for arts and crafts classes, and on Fridays for Bible study and prayer. There are currently between 20 and 28 seniors who attend. As part of the programme, Thembalami provides transport to and from Alexandra to its Lombardy East premises, as well as lunch for those who attend.

The care centre’s assistant occupational therapist provides wool, beads and material and the ladies have already knitted and crocheted scarves and hats. Thembalami aims to run the programme five days a week, for four hours per day.

Joseph Gerard Foundation

With help from Rand Aid, scores of people in Alexandra have had their lives changed for the better.

The Joseph Gerard Foundation was established by the Catholic Church in Alexandra, as a direct response to the hardship and poverty experienced by older people in the community and the dire lack of adequate day care for preschool children.

Father Cairns, the Parish Priest, felt that something had to be done to alleviate the plight of abandoned and abused elderly people and to give children a better start in life.

The old age home was started in a derelict and abandoned boarding school situated next to the church. The church had previously owned the school and boarding school but these buildings were expropriated by the previous government and became run-down over the years, being misused as a brothel and beer hall.

After many efforts, the church finally managed to get the boarding school back in 1998 and it was decided to renovate this for an old age home. The funds to do a basic renovation of the building and provide basic furnishings were donated by the church community in Germany and supplemented by local fundraising and a bequest from an estate. The first residents moved in during December 1989.

Joseph Gerard was more than a place to stay for these senior citizens; it was a refuge from a life of extreme hardship. Abandoned and abused, they had been living in hovels in the community or sheltering in the bushes.

The Home currently provides for 36 frail older persons with no other abode.

The crèche and preschool were started in 1992 and built in two phases. The first phase was completed with financial assistance from Eskom and consisted of four classrooms, an office, kitchen and ablution facilities. However, the number of children grew so quickly that the building was soon overcrowded. The Bryanston branch of the Knights of Da Gama was made aware of the situation and they then decided to sponsor the building of additional classrooms. This section, consisting of three big classrooms, additional ablution facilities and a storeroom, was completed in 1996.

Unemployed mothers from the local community were initially engaged to look after the children. However, the committee recognised the need for a stimulating day care programme and today, all the teachers have some form of formal training. The crèche and preschool can accommodate 150 children between the ages of two and six.

Rand Aid became involved in the projects during the late 1990s when it was requested to assist the Foundation with practical and administrative support. The Foundation was concerned that its sources of funding were drying up and it could not afford to appoint sufficient staff to run the operations on a full-time basis.

Serving on the board of the Foundation, Rand Aid's first task was to help develop a constitution and register the Foundation in terms of the Non Profit Organisations Act, 1997, as an independent non-profit organisation. The goal of Rand Aid’s involvement is to assist and empower the Foundation to full independence.

Currently, Rand Aid undertakes the following on behalf of the Foundation, but with its close involvement:

  • The submission of annual reports to the Director of Not for Profit Partnerships,

  • Financial guidance, including an ongoing accounting service that enables the organisation to have its financial statements audited by a chartered accountant,

  • Ongoing salary administration to ensure the organisation meets salary target dates as well as other legislative requirements,

  • After successfully facilitating the crèche’s registration in terms of the Child Care Act and the Old Age Home's registration in terms of the Aged Persons Act, applications for financing to the Department of Social Development have been made,

  • The successful application for funds from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (Lotto) has since 2003 seen R4 345 817 being secured. This has enabled the upgrading of the Home, the purchasing of a bakkie, appointment of nursing personnel and funding of running expenses such as food, water and electricity and medical needs. A minibus will also be bought with the current allocation. Without these funds, the Foundation would not have been able to continue with its services,

  • Assisting the organisation to receive and administer social pensions for the elderly, setting up a burial fund and helping with the general administration of board and lodging charges and pocket money for the residents,

  • Bulk buying for the organisation that allows it to benefit from Rand Aid's economy of scale,

  • Free cooked meals every weekend, three times a day, for the 36 residents in the Home; as well as cooked lunches every weekday, charged at cost to ensure the residents remain well nourished, and

  • A Rand Aid staff member has been seconded to the organisation and works from an office at the Foundation in Alexandra. This assists in providing a comprehensive administration service, with a view to growing Joseph Gerard to full independence.

For more information or to sponsor this programme, contact Carol Steyn at Rand Aid at (011) 882 2510

© Rand Aid 2010 ~ A registered Non-profit Organisation - 000 605 NPO

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