In January 2019 we started a rural farm healthcare project as part of our aim to help restore human dignity in the lives of children, youth and women who live on rural farms. No one could imagine how little is available on farms, and at the same time just how creative people are in their resilience. When you live on a rural farm it is not that easy to access healthcare services. On our farms, a mobile clinic arrives once every 48 days, and if you miss it then you have to wait another 48 days.
So, we decided to start a healthcare project that aims to train members of the rural farm community to learn the skills that will help them to grow as future qualified nurses and, at the same time, provide basic home-based care services on Middelpos and 10 surrounding farms.
Our healthcare project is now in full swing and we are reaching out to 16 rural farms where no one else dares to go, providing essential services to those in need. Often, if the basic health problems are addressed, it will result in better performing learners at school and more productive workers on the farm.
Our nursing students are now assisting he elderly, sick, disabled and new-born babies on a total of 16 farms. Often there is no basic equipment available, such as baths to bathe children, and so our nursing students must improvise and use anything suitable that they can find. The nursing students also support pregnant ladies. Being pregnant on a rural farm that is isolated and some distance away from basic health services when you have no transport available, very little schooling and no money is a very daunting and difficult experience. Our homebased carers walk kilometres after kilometre, from farm to farm, to provide the very basic home-based care services to these pregnant women and their vulnerable new born babies in an effort to help restore human dignity on farms.
Apart from the health services that our nursing students provide, the most destitute people look forward to their visits because it means that they can have decent conversations, laugh and learn about what is happening outside the boundaries of their walls and farms. This is one of many unintended consequences of such a valuable service provided on rural farms.
Currently our nursing students work for free, however our dream is that someday soon we may be able to provide them with a small stipend monthly to help them buy some toiletries for themselves or put food on their tables for their families. We hope that this will mean that our home-based carers do not lose heart and stop with this important outreach work on 16 farms, but they continue to have the energy and inspiration to shine their lights on farms that are dark with hopelessness and despair.