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.
Click on ‘More Info’ below to find out more about Elim Home.
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.
The staff at Elim Home don’t view any stumbling block as a problem, but rather as an opportunity to create a project to empower the home. This highly positive attitude has borne fruit such as the ‘Saving Water Project’, ‘Building the Shed Project’, ‘Shade at Last Project’ and their most notable project which is ‘The Agriculture Project’ which continues to grow from strength to strength.
The Agriculture Project (Elim Homegrown)
Elim Home is proud of their hydroponic growing tunnels which have been approved by the Department of Agriculture. The massive tunnels stand proudly on the grounds of the Elim Home property and house healthy organic crops of delicious Homegrown tomatoes and tasty green beans. All produce is tended to by members of the Elim settlement and a small team of international volunteers. The crops are fast becoming a valuable source of added income for the home. Both the Gansbaai and Bredasdorp SPAR supermarkets, local shops, guesthouses and the local community, strongly support the agricultural project. The Wyoming Spur Steak Ranch in Bredasdorp uses the home’s outsized tomatoes to top their delicious burgers, and most recently the first batch of tomato jam was exported to Germany where it has been received with rave reviews.
Elim Home Outreach
Elim Home Outreach run daycare facilities in Gansbaai and Bredasdorp that offer a much needed service to working parents of children who are disabled. Staff underwent intensive training in Elim to ensure that they are fully prepared and equipped to serve and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. The correct care of a severely disabled child with mental and physical disabilities will often prevent additional physical- and mental health issues which tend to cause problems later on in life. Emphasis is placed on educating the families of the disabled children and young adults who attend the daycare facility as to the proper care and rehabilitation of their loved ones.
Elim Home needs your help. Even the shortest amount of time offering your services are always welcome. Building, repairs and maintenance are an ongoing project and then there are many other seemingly small duties that the public can lend a hand with. Please call Elim Home and speak to Sister Cunningham for further details.
A small team of international volunteers live and work at Elim Home and dedicate their time to the most vulnerable members of our community with unbridled affection and dedication. Amongst the team are social workers, occupational therapists and students on a gap year who have the intense desire to help others.
The Adoption Plan is a voluntary annual donation to assist in the rehabilitation, stimulation and care of a resident with severe mental and physical handicaps. No contract exists so there are no legal obligations and no account is forwarded each month. This is just about you having the chance to ‘pay it forward’ for the privilege of having been blessed with good health.
The plan is an agreement between an individual, family or organization and the Elim Home to contribute at least R1,200 per year toward a specific resident. Money aside, participants are encouraged to remember special events such as birthdays, Easter and the festive season with cards, treats and gifts. There are residents who don’t have families other than the dedicated staff of Elim Home, so where possible, personal visits are always encouraged and highly appreciated.
It costs roughly R11,000 per month to care for a full time resident which averages out to approximately R355 per day. Smaller donations are gratefully accepted.
Alternatively, you can call the Elim Home for further details.
“Only special people can do this special job.” - Sister Lesinda Cunningham
Elim Home is grateful for the help and donations received from the public as well as all the various organizations whom without, Elim Home would not be a home….a special mention of thanks goes to:
To be able to care and serve the most vulnerable clients one need not to have stony hearts but allow God to give us hearts of flesh. By doing just that, the Lord will help us to deliver our task with hearts of flesh, filled with love. Ezekiel 36:26