The Free State Care in Action (FCIA) with the cooperation of Geratec and Eden Alternative South Africa, started in 2009 with the transformation of our care services in South Africa. The Eden Alternative was developed by Dr. William Thomas. The Eden Alternative philosophy is followed by homes worldwide. There is a change from sterile medical institutions to a human environment – environments where people want to live and caregivers enjoy their work. It is the creation of a community where life is worth living. The culture change is guided by the principles of Eden which is a caring community where helplessness, boredom and loneliness are countered by significant and close contact with animals, children and plants (things that form part of a normal living environment).


Maria Tau – the right to live

Mrs. Maria Tau was found in a cage in the backyard of some family members in an informal settlement near Bloemfontein. The area, in which she lived for years, was so small that she became completely contracted. Due to her confinement she lost her mobility. When she was brought to House Moria in Theunissen, she could not sit, straighten her legs or arms. She could only lie on her stomach. It was only after we started training the staff on the Eden principles that caregivers with sustained person-focused attention systematically started to improve her situation. Today she is in a wheelchair and can form part of the daily activities in the home. For the first time in her life, she can enjoy a full, balanced life.




The healing power of pets

The presence of animals in the house brings so much joy and is a countermeasure for loneliness. The care of house pets give meaning to the residents – be it a cat, a dog or a bird. While the primary benefits of animals are obvious, the benefits for the elderly are so much more. Benefits include: Pets bring down blood pressure and pulse rate; fewer visits to the doctor; less depression; easier to make friends (enhanced social opportunities); seniors are more active; pets give unconditional love; pets relieve the loss of a loved one; pets fight loneliness; seniors take better care of themselves; pets create a sense of security.


From “Ouma se kombuis” comes “Granny’s Oven”

Mrs. Marietta Rheeder, volunteer of the Free State Care in Action (FCIA) in Wesselsbron, initiated a biscuit-baking project a few years ago. She started small with two women who could generate an income for themselves with the project. Equipment was limited to the minimum. The project initially operated from the hall of FCIA Wesselsbron, and circumstances were very difficult. Gradually the project grew. Funding from the National Lottery made it possible to buy some essential equipment. The project delivered a quality product and soon was popular in the circles of the FCIA. The project was widely known as “Uit Ouma se Kombuis”. Under the leadership of Mrs. Rheeder the project reached a nationwide footprint and cookies was delivered as far as Upington. Soon the project became self-sustaining and runs on an annual profit. The project was now able to buy more equipment and to move to a more suitable site. During 2014 the project reached new heights through a contract with Checkers, through the mediation of the School of Management at the University of the Free State. Produce of this project will soon be available on the shelves of Checkers under the name of “Granny’s Oven”. Not only are jobs created by this project, but it ensures an income for FCIA Wesselsbron as well, and serves as a great marketing opportunity for the organization. Congratulations to the team at FCIA Wesselsbron with this great project.



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