To be a nurse, you must be love.
POPUP (People Upliftment Programme) is a faith-based organization originally started in 2000, as a shelter for the homeless. However, the organisation soon realised that although this met an immediate need, it would also keep people dependent, so various programmes were introduced to offer a lasting way out of dependency. Today, POPUP offers an extensive range of social services, amongst which there are nine accredited skills training programmes built on a foundation of holistic personal life skills and improved adult literacy.
Qualified home-based caregiver Kate Mokwena (40) takes care of her client, Mrs Schumann.
When the Old Mutual Foundation discussed funding opportunities with POPUP in 2014, it was interesting to learn that of all the courses offered by POPUP, the highest demand was for qualified Home-based Caregivers. As a Foundation, our aim is ultimately to secure employment and economic empowerment for individuals, so R365 000 funding was approved to train 40 people in 2015 as Home-based Caregivers. Most qualified graduates go on to secure employment in old age homes and hospices, or work as caregivers for private individuals. Many caregivers, once more experienced, choose to study further to become nurses.
POPUP Home-based Caregiving classes in action for 2016 students, Salvokop, Pretoria.
It was good being here in Pretoria today to visit the POPUP training classrooms and meet the Home-based Caregiver trainer, Patience Modiba. I ask Patience about the biggest change she observes in her students over the course of the six-month programme and she commented on their noticeable shift in care and compassion. And it’s this theme that comes through again, later in the afternoon when we drive through to meet one of ‘our’ Old Mutual 2015 graduates, Kate Mokwena (40), now employed as a private caregiver for pensioner Mrs Schumann, who has kindly allowed us into her home.
Mrs Schumann is quite a character. “I’m 80-something” she says, airily dismissing a few extra years with a wave of her hand. Kate helps Mrs Schumann with cooking food (gem squash with lots of butter is Mrs Schumann’s favourite), going for walks around the complex (visiting Mavis and Hilda), assisting with daily physical care and ensuring Mrs Schumann follows her medication routine. I’m touched by the obvious gentleness with which Kate cares for Mrs Schumann. “It’s like Mrs Schumann is my granny.” says Kate.
When we interview Kate to ask how the skills training programme has changed her life, she provides a most eloquent answer. “Before I felt as if I was stuck in mud, I didn’t know anything. When I came to POPUP, it was like I was given a cold shower to wake up. Now I’m alive, I’m awake. I have a new direction. It’s like I have ‘bouncing shoes’, I’m walking lightly.”
Qualified home-based caregiver Kate Mokwena (40) says,”To be a nurse, you must be love.”
And we’re off!
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