In memory of Dr Trudy Thomas

2018-07-05 06:01
Dr Trudy Thomas.

Dr Trudy Thomas.

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Dr Trudy Thomas, founder of the Philippi Children’s Centre, has died.

Dr Thomas (82) passed on three weeks ago, on Sunday 10 June.

A community health specialist, she was touched by the plight of young children in Philippi.

She identified some 150 pre-school children on the vegetable and flower farms and more than three quarters of them were undernourished. This was way back in 1991.

She observed that some turned to criminality, robbing trucks bringing stale bread to feed the pigs in the area.

Others were seemingly left on their own devices and unattended while their mothers toiled the fields.

Parents were mainly illiterate and poorly paid, with the notorious “tot” system in operation, so that drunkenness was endemic and accompanied by family and community violence.

She set out the challenge: “These children need to be rescued from the trap of deprivation and degradation which has already ensnared many parents and which can snap closed in (their) earliest childhood.”

In January 1992 the Trudy Thomas Centre opened its doors to 25 children and three staff members.

In 1998 it was decided to change the name to the Philippi Children’s Centre (PCC) to better reflect the involvement of the whole community and in March 1999 PCC became a non-profit organisation.

Today PCC is registered for 260 children aged between three months and six years, with a staff compliment of 21. Dr Thomas will be remembered as a pioneer of community health.

The founder of the Philippi Children’s Centre has died at the age of 82.

Dr Trudy Thomas died on Sunday 10 June.

In 1991 the plight of young children in Philippi touched the heart of Thomas, then a community health specialist.

She identified some 150 pre-school children on the vegetable and flower farms and more than three quarters of them were undernourished. Some robbed trucks bringing stale bread to the pigs and many were left unattended while mothers worked in the fields. Parents were mainly illiterate and poorly paid, with the notorious “tot” system operating so that drunkenness was endemic and accompanied by family and community violence.

She set out the challenge: “These children need to be rescued from the trap of deprivation and degradation which has already ensnared many parents and which can snap closed in earliest childhood.”

In January 1992 the Trudy Thomas Centre opened its doors to 25 children and three staff.

In 1998 it was decided to change the name to the Philippi Children’s Centre (PCC) to better reflect the involvement of the whole community and in March 1999 PCC became a non-profit organisation.

Today PCC is registered for 260 children aged between three months and six years, with a staff compliment of 21.Thomas will be remembered as a pioneer of community health programmes in South Africa.

The founder of the Philippi Children’s Centre has died at the age of 82.

Dr Trudy Thomas died on Sunday 10 June.

In 1991 the plight of young children in Philippi touched the heart of Thomas, then a community health specialist.

She identified some 150 pre-school children on the vegetable and flower farms and more than three quarters of them were undernourished. Some robbed trucks bringing stale bread to the pigs and many were left unattended while mothers worked in the fields. Parents were mainly illiterate and poorly paid, with the notorious “tot” system operating so that drunkenness was endemic and accompanied by family and community violence­.

She set out the challenge: “These children need to be rescued from the trap of deprivation and degradation which has already ensnared many parents and which can snap closed in earliest childhood.”

In January 1992 the Trudy Thomas Centre opened its doors to 25 children and three staff. In 1998 it was decided to change the name to the Philippi Children’s Centre (PCC) to better reflect the involvement of the whole community and in March 1999 PCC became a non-profit organisation.

Today PCC is registered for 260 children aged between three months and six years, with a staff compliment of 21.

Thomas will be remembered as a pioneer of community health programmes in South Africa and the Eastern Cape’s first MEC in the new democratic South Africa.

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