Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs
The Programmes of Environmental Health and Chiropractic in the Health Sciences Faculty at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Wellness Champions (Standard Bank, Integrated Processing Greyville) under the leadership of Mrs Shirley Morris who have come to the party as primary sponsors and student mentors, have united in their efforts to assist the Wayside Orphanage in Shallcross. The project leader is Ms Joy Kistnasamy (Lecturer – Environmental Health) and she is closely assisted by Dr Junaid Shaik (Senior Lecturer – Chiropractic).
The orphanage, run by nuns from the order of Mother Theresa, exists entirely on donations from well-wishers. The elderly, the sick and children – many are physically and mentally challenged and have nowhere else to go, seek refuge at the orphanage. This collaborative project which commenced in April 2009 and will continue till August 2009, is in keeping with the DUT’s vision and responsibility to be actively involved in community engagement.
The aims of this project is outlined below:
• Helping those less fortunate than us
• Instilling values that are outlined in the Batho Pele Principles
• Linking the academic and corporate environments with the community
• Preparing students for tackling “real world” issues
• Understanding dynamics of group work
• Taking responsibility for one’s actions
This collaborative project will be conducted in two parts:
Part 1: Twenty-seven final year Environmental Health Students will revamp and give the Wayside Orphanage a fresh look it deserves. Students have visited the orphanage and conducted a situation analysis as part of their epidemiology course project.
Ms Kistnasamy says students have been advised not only to do this project to obtain marks but to give back to the community. Ms Kistnasamy emphasised that students are expected to make an environmental impact and add value lives of the children living in that orphanage. Working in three groups , she says students have compiled situational analysis reports of three identified areas of concern, namely: The kitchen, the recreational area and the playground. Using a structured plan of action, students will now look at renovating and improving the conditions to make this a better place for its inhabitants.
Students’ reports show that that the garden and playing area is not properly maintained. Illegal dumping of hazardous material on the premises is of great concern. The kitchen is too small for the large amounts of food prepared in it. Walls, lighting, bins, doors, floors, sinks, windows, a coal stove and cupboards need to be renovated and or replaced. Another group observed that there were not enough beds and this could lead to spread of communicable diseases. The ceiling fans were not working effectively. They also found that windows in the recreational room had no handles and could not close properly.
In their reports, students have pointed out that the situation analysis and proposed renovation is conducted with the hope that in improving conditions in the orphanage, the occupants can feel better about their living conditions and know that there are people who care and this may boost their confidence and self worth and increase sustainability and personal empowerment.
Part 2: Health Care and Holistic Approach will be addressed by the 5th year Chiropractic students. This includes looking at the physical, emotional and social well-being of the orphanage’s residents. Students have drawn up their action plan and will begin the process of implementation soon.
For more information contact Bhekani Dlamini on 031 373 2845 to facilitate the interview.