Elim Home is a special care facility which is tucked away from sight in the historical Moravian mission station town of Elim, just outside Gansbaai. The majority of the children and young adults who reside at Elim Home come from disadvantaged families, and the severities of their disabilities have rendered them helpless and unable to care for themselves. This is the only home that the majority of these residents will ever know...
The struggle to keep Elim Home from disrepair is ongoing, and although subsidies and disability grants are received, these represent a mere third of the costs needed to run the three hectare facility. There are currently 50 full-time residents at Elim Home who are cared for by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, lead by the Home’s Director, Sister Lesinda Cunningham.
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Elim Home was founded in 1963 by the Moravian Church of South Africa and lays off the beaten track, far removed from the eyes of the public. Due to a lack of funds and available staff the Home almost succumbed to the ravages of time. There is an urgent and ongoing need to restore and refurbish the various buildings on the property.
In recent years a team of dedicated staff and willing volunteers have been lead by the Home’s guardian angels, Sister Lesinda Cunningham (the Homes Director, with over 30 years of experience as a highly qualified nurse) and Stephen van Dyk (Human Resources, Maintenance and Project Manager) often going beyond the call of duty to save Elim Home from wrack and ruin. The slow and painstaking task of restoring the buildings while caring for their residents has been met with a faithful diligence that is obvious to guests visiting Elim Home. The team encourage visitations from the public, realising that the only way forward is by the continued help and support of the public - both on a private and corporate level.
A Day in the Life
Residents are divided into small, manageable groups according to their mental age and physical ability. Each group has its own caregiver who acts as a house-parent, taking care of each individual’s specific needs.
Beyond simply providing the essentials such as feeding, bathing and supervising these children and young adults, the home strives to stimulate and maximise any developmental potential that may exist, so that the individual’s opportunities for rehabilitation and their quality of life are improved. Disabled children require constant care and specialised stimulation, both physically and mentally. At Elim Home, these needs are met not only by the caregivers in charge of each group, but also by a part-time physiotherapist and a full-time occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy is an essential part of the rehabilitation process in any home for intellectually and physically disabled persons. At Elim Home, occupational therapy helps teach essential life skills that most able-bodied people tend to take for granted. Besides learning basic life skills, cognitive development is also improved, enabling children to gain independence in other basic tasks. Playing with appropriate toys during these sessions teaches children how to adapt to activities encountered on a daily basis.
The Physiotherapy programme, in which patients are exercised with passive movement and stretching, helps prevent contractures and increases mobility.