“We showed our support to the children, aged between 3 and 7 years, living in the Vita Nova Sparrow Hostel,” says Kathryn Coetzer, Regional Marketing and Communications Manager at Epiroc South Africa. “We donated duvet covers and inners, toys, picture frames and mobiles. We also spent time with the children, residents and staff and shared some truly heart-warming moments.”
Founded over four decades ago and spearheaded by Director, Michelle Immelman, the Vita Nova Centre has grown from a day care to a residential facility for the disabled and can offer care to over 100 residents. During the past ten years the facility has expanded to accommodate a fully equipped stimulation centre, a sensory room, and heat pumps.
“But,” says Michelle, “it is never-ending and there is still a lot left to be done.” She explains that caring for the residents who live with different disabilities such as blindness, autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and HIV/AIDS, presents a unique set of challenges with financial assistance always being the biggest requirement on a long list of other needs.
“As most of our residents are abandoned we do not have the aid of parents or family who can help with fund raising.” Michelle adds that obtaining Government subsidies is always a challenge and while companies donate to projects, for which they are always most grateful, corporates unfortunately seldom contribute to running costs.
“Even though we operate with limited funds we always strive to improve our care each and every day because this is nothing less than what our residents so desperately deserve.” Alongside salaries, electricity and food which are the Centre’s biggest expenses, roof replacement, repairs and painting, bathroom refurbishment and kitchen cupboard painting and repairs form only the tip of the Centre’s maintenance iceberg.
“But we are extremely fortunate in that we have very good relationships with Government departments, donors, schools and the local community and most encouragingly, we have seen an increase in people and companies prepared to get involved. From our side, we are doing as much as possible to keep costs to a minimum. For example, to help curb electricity costs we have installed solar geysers in the kitchen and we need to look at the possibility of changing to gas stoves.”
Michelle expresses her sincere gratitude to the Epiroc team. “The genuine interest shown by the Epiroc employees was truly uplifting and made the residents’ day. They were so happy to meet new people and see new faces. Vita Nova and Epiroc share a long-standing and strong relationship and we really appreciate the company’s ongoing support as well as the effort of the employees on Madiba Day.”
Epiroc employees had great fun inserting colourful images into the picture frames and mounting them on the walls of the children’s hostel. “The pictures really helped to brightened up the walls and added a little cheer to the space,” says Kathryn. “We are proud to have been able to provide assistance to the residents and staff at the Vita Nova Centre in honour of this year’s Mandela Day and we hope that we have made a little difference in the lives of these exceptional residents.”