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GEMS supports senior citizens through annual CSI competition donations

A care facility catering for senior and disabled citizens in Mpumalanga has been chosen as the beneficiary of the Government Employees Medical Scheme’s (GEMS) annual corporate social investment competition.

The competition is open exclusively to GEMS members, who are given the opportunity to nominate a charity of their choice to receive support from GEMS. This year Sipho Ndala, a GEMS member and employee of the Department of Transport, entered the competition on behalf of Ekukhanyeni Old Age Home. The home was founded by Anna Ntuli in 2009 and operates from Thokoza in Kwa Mhlanga, Mpumalanga.

“Mr Ndala brought the story of this incredible initiative to the Scheme’s attention. For years, Ms Ntuli had been concerned about the welfare of the elderly in the KwaMhlanga community. Many of them were unable to make ends meet and had no one to care for them,” explains Dr Gunvant (Guni) Goolab, GEMS Principal Officer.

“Without basic provisions, such as food and medicine, many of these senior citizens were left to languish in poverty until, in 2009, Ms Ntuli began the weighty task of establishing a care facility to provide for them.

“We understand that Ms Ntuli had to overcome a number of obstacles, but through her hard work and persistence, she has built up a facility that now cares for 35 residents. Last year, Mr Ndala entered a competition where GEMS members were asked to nominate charities for support, and called on the Scheme to assist this worthy project,” Dr Goolab notes.

“We understand that, notwithstanding all Ms Ntuli’s best efforts, the facility still has a number of material needs to be addressed including building renovations, additional toilets, furnishings, appliances and day-to-day provisions. As GEMS, we are determined to help Ms Ntuli in her selfless undertaking to care for these vulnerable members of society.”

On 30 July, GEMS will visit Ekukhanyeni Old Age Home in order to hand over a number of items that, it is hoped, will make life easier and a little more pleasant for the residents.

“We will supply some essential appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines and gas stoves, as well as a water borehole system to assist with water supply. We also have furniture for the facility, including beds and linen because we hear that at present there are not enough beds for the residents.

“Wheelchairs, tables and chairs, as well as televisions will bring some comfort and entertainment to the Home, and some groceries will also be donated,” Dr Goolab notes.

“In addition, the GEMS team will be rolling up their sleeves to help with cleaning the facility, cooking for the residents and giving them some personalised care and attention. We look forward to spending time with Ms Ntuli and her organisation’s beneficiaries and bringing some hope and cheer to the establishment.

“Senior citizens have a special place in society, deserving of care and respect. They have worked to build our country, seen many great changes in the course of their lives, and raised children who are now grown up and making their own contributions to the world.

It is our privilege to do something to make their lives more comfortable and assist Ms Ntuli with her good work in looking after the residents of Ekukhanyeni Old Age Home,” Dr Goolab concluded.

Members of the media are invited to join GEMS for the handover at 08:35 AM on Saturday, 30 July 2016, at the Ekukhanyeni Old Age Home, Stand 144, Sibanyoni Street, Mandela Village, Kwamhlanga, Mpumalanga, 1022