HeartFM reaches out to Elim Home, an NGO providing holistic nursing for severely intellectually and physically disabled children during #16DaysForYouth. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - Running and managing an NGO already has its challenges, but being in a rural community is tougher. 

Elim Home in Elim, outside Bredasdorp, is providing holistic nursing 24/7 at a residential care facility for severely intellectually and physically disabled children and young adults from disadvantaged communities.

Founded in 1963 by the Moravian Church of South Africa, the home is one of only very few full-time residential facilities for disabled children in the Western Cape. It was the first and only home to accommodate black and coloured children at the time it was established.

The organisation is run by director Lucinda Cunningham, who has been with the facility for over seven years.

Founded in 1963 by the Moravian Church of South Africa, the home is one of only very few full-time residential facilities for disabled children in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied
HeartFM reaches out to Elim Home, an NGO providing holistic nursing for severely intellectually and physically disabled children during #16DaysForYouth. Picture: Supplied

Cunningham has spent several years in Europe as a mobile carer for the disabled. She returned to South Africa after her husband was relocated to Elim. Despite him now working in Cape Town, Cunningham has stayed on and travels to and from Cape Town every weekend. 

Elim Home has only 50 beds and is overcrowded due to the dire need for a care facility for these children. 

Their conditions include cerebral palsy, foetal alcohol syndrome, Down Syndrome, autism and epilepsy. The children at the home range from about 6 years old to 41 years old. 

Cunningham says due to the fact that these children come from impoverished homes, many  are simply abandoned and left there. 

Cunningham is on the Western Cape Forum for Disabilities board and has a vast knowledge of the inner workings of organisations such as this. 

Although the care facility is well supported through government services, it is struggling to make ends meet with the subsidy of the government grant, which covers less than 40% of its annual budget.

Founded in 1963 by the Moravian Church of South Africa, the home is one of only very few full-time residential facilities for disabled children in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied

About 10 parents contribute, but they can hardly afford the R350 a month required, making Elim Home largely dependent on the generosity of donors. 

As the care facility is located in such a remote area, the children don’t often get the chance to interact with visitors or to be spoilt, as children should.

As part of Heart FM’s 16 Days for Youth initiative, Elim Home was identified as a recipient for this year. 

The Heart FM presenters and colleagues came to feed, interact and entertain the residents and staff with a soup kitchen, party packs and entertainment by station DJs.

The children welcomed the fun and attention for the day, but there are many ways to assist with the sustainable management of this home and here’s how you can help:

Needs include: special needs beds, bedding, toiletries, pyjamas and adult nappies

The 16 Days for Youth initiative run by Denver Apollus said: “At Heart FM we are truly representative of a diverse, vibrant and colourful community… With this comes the unique opportunity to be agents of change, creating a platform for our listeners, partners and clients to be involved with and make a difference in our communities.”

* For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/
** Follow the journey on social media @Heart1049FM or @16DaysForYouth - #16DaysForYouth.

Cape Argus