Centre for elderly citizens finally opens doors after major revamp

2014-04-25 00:00

AFTER years of negotiations and months of renovations, the Durban Association for the Aged (Dafta) was finally able to open the door to its Durban South Service Centre.

The building that was once known as the Merebank Community Centre was used by the senior citizens of the area for years before it became dilapidated and unusable in 2008.

Since then, senior citizens of the area had no place for a day-care centre or for clubs to hold meetings.

Chief social worker for Dafta, Anitha Pillay, said the NGO has 37 clubs in the eThekwini area and 11 day-care centres with the Durban South Service Centre.

“Our clubs are based in areas around Durban. The day-care centres offer senior citizens in the areas access to meals and allow them to engage in empowerment programmes. There was a need for a service centre for the senior citizens in Merebank as there are many clubs in the area,” Pillay said.

She added that after a lengthy process to attain a lease for the dilapidated building with the Department of Public Works. Years later the lease was finally granted but the building needed a major renovation.

Kudzai Mqingwana, corporate social investment manager for Afrisun KwaZulu-Natal, who donated the funding for the renovation of the community centre, said that it was their way of giving back and investing in the community.

“Mr Vivian Reddy and community leaders in the area scoped the project in late 2012. The project was originally set to cost R5 million but the project was completed in six month at R3 million. But it is not just about Dafta because there are also schools and other organisations that will be able to make use of the building,” she said.

Pillay added that Dafta was grateful to those who sponsored the renovation to the building and that they were hoping to serve around 1 000 people a day.

“We are going to hold engagement programmes such as food, gardening, arts and crafts, fish farming and bead sewing, some activities that are income generating. We not only want to keep the senior citizens active but this is also seen as an opportunity to make them self-sufficient and self-reliant. The renovation will encourage the view that senior citizens are important in the community for their knowledge and experience,” she said.

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