Centre pleads for fundsYingwani Mashaba
Ga-Tsholofelo is se-Tswana for hope. It is a home-based care centre founded in 2001 at Oukasie in Brits.It is the brain-child of Lulama Ngubesha, an Eastern Cape born schoolteacher now based and working at Letlhabile, 25km north of Brits.
"She saw an urgent need to intervene in order to conscientise and educate our people around the various chronic diseases which were claiming so many lives since many chose to be ignorant while others were in denial," says care-give Miranda Leso.
The home-based care centre's initiative was met with open arms by members of the community. One Oukasie resident lent them a RDP house and many other community members volunteered their services to the centre.
The department of health also came on board to assist the centre with staff training in the areas such as counselling, prevention programme, breast-feeding, cancer, TB, adherence counselling, how to use ARV treatment.
A care-giver, Nonie Kgetedi said they have done their best to reach out to as many residents of Oukasie to convey the awareness campaigns."We launched an extensive door to door health talk in a bid to convey awareness messages around chronic diseases," says Kgetedi.
"Many of those we managed to talk to were eager to heed our advice, but we also met with resentment from a handful of residents who wanted to know our credibility, for example if we ourselves had been diagnosed HIV positive," she says.
A person who was once a bed-ridden HIV positive patient but who is now on ARV treatment lauds the "quality service that (Ga-Tsholofelo) is rendering to us.
"However the 11-member centre "faces a number of challenges, lack of funds being the principal one," says Leso."Currently we are faced with the exodus of care-givers citing lack of remuneration even to afford basic toiletries," says Mused Lubbe, project treasurer. "One should look good when bringing service to the people."
"The municipality must consider providing us with free services namely, water, electricity and a landline," says Anna Mavuso, project coordinator.One social worker within the department of social development understands the centre's financial uncertainty but is quick to warn of the home-based care centre's dependency on government alone.
"What government does is to provide training to equip the home-based care staff to expand and sustain the projects on their own through fund-raising," she says.
In spite of these challenges, Ga-Tsholofelo care-givers vow to carry on their work with cheerful determination.(If anyone wants to assist this home-based care centre with money, toiletries or food, they should contact the Numsa Madibeng local on 012 252 1750. Speak to Rosemary)