This sanctuary started in 1976, Woodside Special Care Centre provides 24hour care for 80 profoundly intellectually and physically challenged residents.
About a week ago I had the privilege of visiting Woodside SCC, located in Rondebosch East. Visiting this home honestly makes you feel every kind of emotion, for me the most overwhelming feeling was, gratitude. Simple things we often take for granted, like being able to swallow or move your fingers and toes.
Physically, Woodside’s residents have various levels of functioning with the majority being wheelchair bound, a few have extremely limited speech, and others communicate via facial expressions and gestures, whilst the majority of them are mute.
The level of intellectual disability of Woodside’s residents is classified on the scale of ‘severe to profound’ meaning that in the majority they have a mental age of someone less than three years.
The main causes of the intellectual and physical disabilities displayed at Woodside SCC are:
- Birth Trauma i.e. loss of oxygen to the brain before, during and after the birth process
- Abuse by parents/caregivers causing brain damage (bleeding on the brain)
- Genetic defects e.g. Down Syndrome
- Accidents or the result of illness e.g. Meningitis
- Foetal alcohol syndrome
- And idiopathic (when the cause is unknown)
With an angel staff count of just over 100, consisting of admin, nursing and therapists, walking through the colourful walls of Woodside SSCC, you cannot help but want to do more. Being an NGO, their objective is to be adequately funded. The cost of providing the range of services to the 80 residents amounts to over R1 million per month. Many of the children are from very poor homes and disadvantaged communities, so the parental contribution is very small or nothing at all. Most of the residents permanently wear nappies of which the cost also amount to over R1 million annually. The Management board consists of 10 volunteers who meet on a monthly basis and receive no remuneration for their time and expertise.
The centre has various platforms for support; you can subscribe to the ‘Adopt-My-Child’ debit order giving campaign, join the Tin Collection Drive or even become a volunteer. This will be appreciated by both staff and residents. See (https://www.woodside.org.za/support-woodside/) for more information.
Woodside Special Care Centre’s main objective is to be recognized as a centre of excellence for the treatment and care of profoundly intellectually disabled people in the Western Cape. I am convinced that they are already doing a STERLING job!