honouring community health workers
“No upgrading, no development has taken place in this community in 30 years. Judith is part of a plan that is working towards uplifting and upgrading housing in the area. She helps uplift the community.”
Councillor JB Pietersen for Uitsig, Clarke Estate and Adriaanse. Photo – flat in Clarke Estate.
“I want to change children’s lives. Children need to have another vision in life. I always believe if you change one child’s life then you have been successful.”
- Judith Joseph, Elsies River, secretary of the Tygerberg Health Forum and who does youth development with youth at risk
“She is my daughter and she was born normal. When she was one and a half she got TB meningitis. In the Eastern Cape, the doctors didn’t operate on her. If I had the right help earlier, my daughter would not be brain damaged. It was my daughter that inspired me to do this work. When I see other women in my community experiencing difficulties with their physically disabled children, that hurts me. So that’s what makes me take care of these children at a crèche in my home.”
- Buziwe Phendu with her fourteen year old daughter, Nonyameka, Browns Farm, Philippi.
“You need a heart for this type of work”
- Home-based carer, Deborah Palm holding ninety year old stroke patient Michael Breedekamp’s hands, together with his partner Girlie Breedekamp, Grassy Park.
“I pray with those who are sick, sometimes if you are infected you feel so lonely.”
- Pastor Aaron Makili who started an organisation, Community Bible Society, which offers spiritual, emotional and practical support to people living with HIV.
“I ask him how he is, if he gets something to eat. I ask him if he had taken his pills. I try and try. I want to be trained to work with people with HIV. I love them especially because they don’t have people who love them or people to help them. I want to do more but I don’t have wings. Maybe next time I am going to fly and see to everybody’s needs. Soldiers don’t get rest, they are always on the move.”
- Nophelo Nogqala carer for the sick and needy and the initiator of a soup kitchen which runs every day from her house in Site B, Khayelitsha and feeds 58 people, especially those taking medication for HIV and TB.
“She not only feeds our stomachs she feeds our souls and minds.”
- Mr Daniel Jansen Head of Department at Lourier Primary School, Retreat, about Christina Killian who runs a soup kitchen and AIDS education programme and gives motivational talks at the school.
“The children in the area are so small, they lack vitamins. My dream is to have a big double story house where I can take kids, babies, children that are vulnerable, neglected and abused, and care for them love them and spoil them rotten.”
- Damaris Fritz, Delft, who for eight years was the manager of an Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) and home-based care project for children under five. She is now the chairperson of the Cape Metropolitan Health Forum.
“Some of the children at our schools are AIDS orphans. I try to link up with their families and keep them at school. I help them with their homework, with reading, with everything. They must know that it’s not just because their parents died they have nobody else, this is the end of their future, we are still their parents. I act as their mother.”
- Nomalizo Pikashe, community health activist, pre school director and educator, Nomzamo.
“Sometimes I wish God gave me the power you know, honestly, nobody needs to know, but just to be able to put my hands on you and to heal you. I’ve always had that longing in me. I feel other people’s pain.”
- Shaheemah Baatjies, home-based carer Salt River
“Shaheemah is very gentle, It feels lovely to be massaged, she’s very caring. It’s wonderful to be pampered. It makes me feel like a young girl.”
- Susan van der Schyff 87, talking about Shaheemah Baatjies, home based carer of the elderly, Salt River.
“This is my dream here. When my eyes fell on this building, I said this is a waste and I thought we can build a multi-purpose centre, knowing the needs in our area, the aged and the youth. At the moment it’s been used for drug trafficking.”
- Shereen Marlie, community health worker with a background in nursing and family planning, Salt River.
“We started the garden because of poverty, most of the people are not working, grannies are looking after their grandchildren, and they are suffering. The idea for the garden comes from the Eastern Cape, we are used to growing things there. We asked the school for this land. We are five women who are gardening. We eat from our garden, we sell vegetables to buy more seedlings and we also give vegetables to make soup for TB and HIV patients. I feel women should learn to do things for themselves and make their own money.”
- Monica Duda, initiator of the food gardening project, Masibambane Women’s Development Group, at Siyazakha School in Browns Farm, Philippi.
“I was a nurse for 40 years. I noticed that when people were being discharged from hospital, they stay at home for a week or even one day and then they return to the hospital. We are nursing them, they get well, then they go home and then they come back. After I retired I decided to get into the community side of nursing to see what is going on in people’s homes that is making them return to the hospitals all the time.”
- Maria Appie, chairperson of the Health Committee of Mitchells Plain.
“I am the mouth of the community. If there is a problem, you come to me, I can sort problems out. When I see something wrong, I do something. My friend said to me, “You are a Minister without portfolio”.
- Nomalungelo Laipi Macozoma.
“I am going to have to walk alongside her for a long time, she is going to need the proper care and counselling so she can have a solid relationship with a person in the future. I was a child of rape. The worst thing for my mom was that the man who raped her lived in the same street and she had to confront him every day. The problem with rape it that it causes generations of pain and that’s what makes it so cruel.”
- Leanne Stellenberg counselling a 14 year old rape survivor at the Trauma Counselling Room,
which she runs as the Victim Empowerment Officer at the Kuils River Police Station.
“This lady I build up, you will think she is part of my family, she’s precious. She’s got angina, she is a patient of the Day Hospital. I check up on her, just to see if she is OK. There’s times she just cry when I come.”
- Cassandra Abrahams treasurer of the Tygerberg Health Forum.
find the community health workers stories on the Other-Wise website under exhibitionsall images copyright of Kali van der Merwe