St Joseph's Home for chronically ill children, Cape Town
miracle child ashica's story
Five years ago Ashica was admitted to St Joseph's Home. Only six months old, she showed developmental delay and was underweight for her age, weighing only 3,79kg. Feeding her was a challenge for the nursing staff. She had difficulties with sucking and swallowing.

Her mother died two weeks after she was admitted to SJH. During her first year at SJH she was readmitted to Tygerberg Hospital three times with pneumonia. Despite all this she developed into a normal, healthy toddler. Her weight improved and at 14 months she started to learn to walk.

Turning two, she was enrolled in our preschool. In the class room setting. She was a slow learner and struggled to follow instructions. She attended preschool for three years.

With daily stimulation and encouragement, Ashica blossomed into a very special child. Progress has been achieved in her overall development. Her fine motor skills have improved and she can even complete a 10 piece puzzle. Emotionally she has changed from an introverted shy child to one with self-confidence. She even assumed the role of "teacher's assistant" by helping her younger classmates.

This year she has progressed to grade R and proudly wears her school uniform. Her grade R teacher reports that she has adapted well to her new setting and routine.
friendly spaces text Reconstruction of the first new wards, Sweet Basil and Daisy, is far advanced. The official opening is scheduled for 29 July.

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Minister of Health, will conduct the official opening, while a representative of the funder and Peter Hughes, Board Chairman, will cut the ribbon. Guests will be taken on a walkabout, experiencing the new and innovative child and eco-friendly designs in both the new wards and the new rehabilitation facilities. Once completed, St Joseph's will be one of the most modern paediatric intermediate health care facilities in the country.
miracle child
Ashica and Ashley all dressed up for school
ashley's story
Ashley was admitted to SJH at the beginning of 2011 with a chronic condition. During his first admission he started to attend the preschool and was discharged after 13 months. His father, the sole breadwinner, was unable to work due to illness. As a result, the family lived below the bread line.

In August 2013 Ashley (3 yrs) was readmitted to SJH, due to non-compliance of his chronic medication. During his second admission results of a neuro-developmental screening indicated that he had low muscle tone and global developmental delay. He was re-enrolled in our preschool.

Initially he displayed an untamed curiosity and was viewed as being hyperactive. Despite his "busyness", he was able to settle down to the class room routine and structure.

In line with the holistic approach of SJH patient care, he received input from the multidisciplinary team which included rehab therapy, nursing care and support from the social workers. Developmentally he improved on all levels. Socially he acquired the ability to interact with his class mates and is able to carry out instructions given to him.
construction of wards
Matron Gourrah
Matron Gourrah visiting the new Basil and Daisy Wards
brickframed "Healthcare facilities should provide child friendly environments for any child attending the facility, whether they are a patient or visitor. This includes creating a healing environment that aims to alleviate fear and anxiety and promotes the healing process."
architect drawing
Open spaces, natural light and star gazing at night will be some of the treats children will be able to enjoy
building upgrade Calling our corporates and funders to support our Capital Projects: The current funding of R36 million is for upgrading the hospital wards and for the children's direct benefit.

Capital funding is still needed for renovations to the nurses' bathrooms, the volunteer and parents' accommodation building (see illustration), the Chapel and the development of various open spaces in need plants and paving.

Phone Alrika at 021-9340352 for more information.
latest news
Thea Patterson, St Joseph's Home director was invited to speak at a DISABILITY COLLOQUIUM organised by the Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre held at the Business School of the University of Stellenbosch. Success stories were shared on how NGO's work in the field of disability and create innovative financial solutions, ensuring long term sustainability. Thea presented challenges regarding children with disabilities and related issues, based on work experience at the Home. Here are some of her points:
  • General challenges people with disabilities face: Impact of poverty is greater on the disabled; burden on society; violence in community limiting access to services; resources in the community not ideal, or do not exist at all e.g. rural areas; and the current DOH Intermediate Care Policy does not speak to the overall needs of children.
  • From a family perspective: Lack of communication/ feeding/ mobility, lack of access to special needs education; challenges regarding daily living activities; expensive transport; need for respite care for caregivers; and sleep deprivation for caregiver and patient.
  • From a St Joseph's perspective: Parents' lack of understanding and adjustment to diagnosis/ unrealistic expectations; lack of adequate support for families with a disabled child; lack of alternative long term placement facilities for social cases; access to appropriate education with learner support; inclusive education not an option for many; lack of follow up therapeutic treatment in under resourced communities; lack of preparation for the future of their child/ relative and complex discharge planning.
Possible Solutions:
  • Day care centres operating from 7-7
  • Full term boarding schools for social cases and for rural children
  • Group homes for young adults with an assisted living service
  • Skills development and training centres
  • Respite care for caregivers
  • Additional home-based support and therapists e.g. CHC's: As per pilot in Mitchell's Plain
Life has become expensive and challenging to many of our people living in Cape Town. Groceries and food prices have escalated over the past few months. During the June/July school holidays, we encourage, assist and support our children to visit their loved ones. Since many of them are on chronic medication, it is important that their special nutritional needs are maintained while away from SJH.

Our request is for either in kind donations / cash to fund as many food parcels as possible. Each food parcel contains the necessary groceries to keep a family going for at least one week.

Budget: The cost of a food parcel is R200. We have opened an account at Makro in Milnerton for special purposes such as these. If you wish to make a contribution in this way, please let us know and the bank details and account number can be forwarded to you. Phone Berenice (021-9340352) for more information.

Michael Terespolsky, Managing Director: Col'Cacchio Pizzeria and Roxy Mitchell, Head of Communications, delivering pizza to the children @ SJH. Thea (right) accepts a cheque from Red Cross Children's Trust and Col'Cac-chio in support of St Joseph's pilot rehab programme. colcacchio kids
social calendar

On Human Rights Day, our first event to celebrate 80 years of healing was held. More than 120 former patients and staff joined the reunion. A special Mass was also held to commemorate this special occasion. Children of SJH sang three songs and spiritu-al dances were performed in the chapel. Father Peter John conducted a moving ceremony and referred to St Joseph's former and present staff as "facilitators of hope". He said that in the past many have come to the Home with broken dreams and human limitations.

"We will not stop dancing. We believe in dreams and that people can be healed," he said.

A special message and a prayer were delivered by Sister Annemarie, while Thea Patterson welcomed the guests and remarked on the relevance of Human Rights Day. She said that the rights of disabled people are still not always being given priority and that SJH will continue to assist in the cause of challenging issues regarding disability.

80 years celebration Pictures: Alrika, Benthe, Ronell | Editor: Alrika Hefers (
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