The founder of Ratanang Elderly Organisation Nomvula Sibanyoni believes that elderly people are the most neglected and that is why she started Ratanang in 2014. She says that the organization was inspired by her past. “I did not have parents while growing up so I found comfort in being around them (the elders) because they listened to me and so that’s why they are so close to my heart.”
The awareness event hosted at the Holiness Church on Majola Road, opposite Zamani Primary School in Kwa-Thema on Wednesday, was aimed at helping the elderly to know the right doors to knock on whenever they have issues with family members who are abusing them or have other problems that require health care practitioners to attend to. Invited to the event were organisations such as the Central Gauteng Mental Health Society which is based in Kwa-Thema and other stakeholders including the Mazibuko royal house from Tsakane.
The Boksburg-based Gugulethu Child & Youth Care Centre’s Mrs Flooi Steyn encouraged members of Ratanang to always put themselves first and not allow their families to suck life out of them. She said mothers are natural givers who care deeply for people close to their hearts to an extent that they end up getting abused in the process. She encouraged the elderly women to look after, love and pamper themselves first before doing so to others.
KwaTsaDuza Times spoke to few elderly persons who shared their experiences and inspirations they got from Nomvula and other members of the organization. “When I first came to the Ratanang sessions, I felt encouraged and inspired; it’s always good to be here because we are taught many things. We don’t even think of our illnesses because we put God first and we tell ourselves that in the name of Jesus, we have healed,” says Mama Sadie Khumalo, who has been a Ratanang member for about three years.
Gogo Emelina Masilela who is also a founding member of the organization rejoices in the success and growth of Ratanang even though she laments the lack of support they receive from funders and the community at large. “We are short of many things but most importantly, we need a place we can use for an office, and monetary support. We need help so that we can be able to reach out to more grandmothers who need our help. It’s getting harder because whenever we need to do something, we have to draw money out of our pockets.”
Sibanyoni says her door-to-door service, giving and showing love and support to the elderly has helped her to love the organization even more.
She gets money from her snacks and sweets business at a local school. She then contributes a certain percentage of her income to the organization by buying bread and soup for the elderly during their Wednesday sessions. Nomvula is inviting more elderly women to join the organization so they will not be left out.
Sibanyoni can be reached on 079 8398 592, should you wish to assist. Alternatively, you can visit their Ratanang Elderly Organization’s page on Facebook for more information.