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Celebrating our First Event - celebrating 80 years of vision, vasbyt & innovation

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Faith-based, Social & Community
- Whats happening at St Josephs

On Human Rights Day, our first event to celebrate 80 years of healing was held. More than 120 former patients and staff joined the reunion. A special Mass was also held to commemorate this special occasion. Children of SJH sang three songs and spiritu-al dances were performed in the chapel.

Father Peter John conducted a moving ceremony and referred to St Joseph's former and present staff as "facilitators of hope". He said that in the past many have come to the Home with broken dreams and human limitations.

"We will not stop dancing. We believe in dreams and that people can be healed," he said.

A special message and a prayer were delivered by Sister Annemarie, while Thea Patterson welcomed the guests and remarked on the relevance of Human Rights Day. She said that the rights of disabled people are still not always being given priority and that SJH will continue to assist in the cause of challenging issues regarding disability.


Thea Patterson, St Joseph's Home director was invited to speak at a DISABILITY COLLOQUIUM organised by the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre held at the Business School of the University of Stellenbosch. Success stories were shared on how NGO's work in the field of disability and create innovative financial solutions, ensuring long term sustainability. Thea presented challenges regarding children with disabilities and related issues, based on work experience at the Home. Here are some of her points:

  • General challenges people with disabilities face: Impact of poverty is greater on the disabled; burden on society; violence in community limiting access to services; resources in the community not ideal, or do not exist at all e.g. rural areas; and the current DOH Intermediate Care Policy does not speak to the overall needs of children.
  • From a family perspective: Lack of communication/ feeding/ mobility, lack of access to special needs education; challenges regarding daily living activities; expensive transport; need for respite care for caregivers; and sleep deprivation for caregiver and patient.
  • From a St Joseph's perspective: Parents' lack of understanding and adjustment to diagnosis/ unrealistic expectations; lack of adequate support for families with a disabled child; lack of alternative long term placement facilities for social cases; access to appropriate education with learner support; inclusive education not an option for many; lack of follow up therapeutic treatment in under resourced communities; lack of preparation for the future of their child/ relative and complex discharge planning.

Possible Solutions:

  • Day care centres operating from 7-7
  • Full term boarding schools for social cases and for rural children
  • Group homes for young adults with an assisted living service
  • Skills development and training centres
  • Respite care for caregivers
  • Additional home-based support and therapists e.g. CHC's: As per pilot in Mitchell's Plain

Michael Terespolsky, Managing Director: Col'Cacchio Pizzeria and Roxy Mitchell, Head of Communications, delivering pizza to the children @ SJH. Thea (right) accepts a cheque from Red Cross Children's Trust and Col'Cac-chio in support of St Joseph's pilot rehab programme.

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