The Elders Voice KZN fighting for their own

2018-02-07 06:01
Tiny Wepener with some of his handmade crafts and the tools he uses to create his woodwork designs.

Tiny Wepener with some of his handmade crafts and the tools he uses to create his woodwork designs.

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FIFTY-FIVE Gus Brown Road is a normal-looking house. You would easily assume it is just a regular home in Amanzimtoti.

However, once you walk in and you are welcomed by grey-haired people with the sweetest smiles that take you back to your grandparents’ home visits, you realise that this is not your regular house found in Amanzimtoti.

A family unit is what they are and a very big one at that. The Elders Voice KZN is a pioneering non-profit organisation in Amanzimtoti that keeps this house afloat and a total of six other homes around the community.

Fever reporter Samkelisiwe Gumede sat with founder and warrior of the NPO, Joanne Mocke Herbst, alongside the elders who live in the home, to get to the heart of why The Elders Voice KZN came about and what exactly they do.

Herbst said: “The Elders Voice KZN is a non-profit organisation that was established on the basis of fighting for the rights of the elderly and to give them a right to live with dignity in their old age.”

The organisation started with the rescue of a little girl eight months ago, which was an eye-opener for Herbst as she then realised that abused animals have the SPCA, abused children have Bobbi Bear but the elderly have no one to stand up for them.

“There was no one to be their voice and that is when I decided that I wanted to be their voice.

“No one can survive on a Sassa grant alone in these times, so giving them the best of their last days is what I want to do but I can’t do it without the help of my community.

“All of this is to restore their dignity and to make every elder we take in feel loved and cared for,” she said.

“If you do the maths, you realise that the majority of the elders in the homes have children who are also pensioners at this point, and how can a pensioner take care of another pensioner?

“It is in our hands as the community to give a helping hand and be of assistance to the needy and it is such a phenomenally gratifying moment when you help someone and see them grow and get better in your care,” she added.

As well as the support the NPO gets from the community, the home residents also have the means to generate an income to keep their homes afloat. Every home is filled with talent locked up in the elders and they are given the opportunity to exercise these talents. The creations that are made are sold to bring in an income for them.

Adele Greyling from the 55 Gus Brown home said: “The best thing about living in these homes is that you know each one has a story to tell and that’s how the bonds are formed in here. We get to minister to each other and in that we find healing.”

Maureen Francis, also from the same home, said; “We are lucky we have a roof over our heads, a bed, food and God in the home.”

The Elders Voice KZN is always in need of any donations, a mere helping hand or just someone’s time to shed some light on the elders’ lives. While the homes get a high number of non-perishable foods donated, they are always looking for more food items for the kitchen, personal and hygiene items, fridges, single beds and washing machines.

If you would like to volunteer to be a helping hand for the NPO or donate any items to the homes, contact Herbst at 079 028 6379.

Keep up to date with The Elders Voice KZN on Facebook.

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