Members of the Queenstown Service Centre based in Nomzamo recently gifted themselves with a wooden structure to accommodate elderly people in the area.
One of the members, Nomthandazo Sopapazi, who believes in sharing and caring said the centre, which is a part of the Komani Older Persons’ Forum, was established in 2003 and accommodates men and women of 60 years or older.
“There are about 40 of us in this centre and when we started, we were a group of old women who wanted to have fun and partake in playful activities, in our own space. As the years went by, we realised, upon visiting each other in our homes, that some of these women were left alone with no-one taking care of them even though some were sick and most were lonely. We then had to transform our playground into a full time centre where we cook, cultivate, spend time together as old people and share whatever we have with each other. We also do home visits for those who are unable to walk.”
Sopapazi said through fund-raising, they have managed to buy furniture but had very limited space. As a result some of the old people have to sit outside their new building.
“We had appealed to the officials of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) because these premises used to be a dumping site. They have assisted us by cleaning the whole space and they have also provided a fence to keep the place clean and safe.”
She said one of the centre’s main challenges was operating without electricity. “We bought a stove with the money we received from fund-raising, but for now we are using a gas stove which can sometimes be very difficult.”
She added that water and toilets were non-existent on the premises and were among the more pressing issues they are hoping to tackle with intervention from anyone willing to assist.
“Our vision is to gather old people and create a happy and healthy environment where we support one another instead of growing old and alone in our households. We would be glad if we could get a proper structure or a donation of building material or any kind of assistance,” Sopapazi said.