Durban — As part of the commemoration of the 163rd anniversary of the arrival of Indian indentured labourers to South Africa, which was marked on Thursday, the KwaZulu-Natal International Business Forum (Kiba) has gifted R163 000 to the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre.
Established in 1983, the centre has been struggling financially and needed funds to continue its service to the elderly. Its frail care unit, which is run around the clock, was established in 1997 and provides nursing care and comfort to 70 frail and aged patients.
In 2003, it opened the A Ramsunder Geriatric Clinic so the aged would not need to leave the centre for medical treatment.
Manager Fatima Khan-Harripershad said they were always looking for donations to help the centre.
“Our financial situation has impacted negatively on staff and services. Especially after Covid-19, businesses can’t help like they used to and state funding is non-existent. The daily expenses have increased and everybody is feeling the pinch.
“Kiba has truly become a part of the family in helping our centre; they are indeed a treasure in the journey of the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre,” said Harripershad.
Kiba is a Durban-based business organisation which focuses on business networking, development, investment opportunities and social upliftment.
The donation came as a surprise to Krish Vadivelu, the president of the centre, who was shocked to receive the cheque.
“I’m absolutely excited about what this donation can do for our centre. I’m still shocked that everyone kept it from me. I’m so grateful to Omie Singh and the whole of Kiba for doing this for us. We hope their help continues into the future,” said Vadivelu.
Omie Singh, the president of Kiba said he decided to help the centre after he was approached by a senior citizen.
“Sheila Ranjith reached out to me in desperation after seeing the work we do and requested assistance for fund-raising.
“The request was urgent as the centre could face closure should it not meet its deficit of R2.5 million. Factors that contributed were beyond the centre’s control. We were concerned about their dire situation, which is why we decided to plan and host a fund-raiser initiative to raise funds for the centre.”
The R163 000 donation will be coupled with additional money raised from a dinner held last night.
“Our members gave their full support, buying tables for the fund-raising dinner together with donations and pledges. The generosity of members and the public has been phenomenal and it only took over a month to collect the money.
“The reason for the R163 000 was to commemorate the arrival of the first indentured Indians to the shores of Durban, and so we went with that specific amount.
“It's truly a fulfilling and humbling feeling to be able to contribute in whatever way possible to ease the plight of the most vulnerable. We will lend our assistance in whichever way it is needed in the future,” said Singh.