Written by Denja Otte
Youth month is a time to remember the rights of youth but also to reflect on our responsibility to give back to others. I am 19 years old and as part of my year of volunteerism in South Africa I decided to give back to children who spend long days in hospital. So I organized a project at the Maitland Cottage Home in Newlands in the Western Cape.
The Maitland Cottage Home is an orthopedic hospital for children under 18. The hospital can host up to 65 children at a time, divided over 2 wards. One ward is for girls and the other for boys. As a governmental hospital their main focus is on the care of children and funds for maintenance are scarce. I went to visit the hospital and after walking through the wards and hearing the hospital administrator Fiona Kunz say “We would desperately need new curtains and a new coat of paint for our girls´ ward” , I knew what I needed to do.
I decided to paint the girl´s ward because the paint was literally peeling off the wall. Last year I painted a lot of rooms in our national center in Germany and I loved seeing the big difference after a room had been painted. As this was a big project I contacted some of my Rover friends and they all jumped at the chance to be of service to children and the hospital.
So one Friday evening we prepared the ward, masked off windows and other areas and did all sorts of things which were important for the task the next day. Early Saturday morning we then started painting with enthusiasm and excitement. By the evening the ward was shining in a fresh new white coat.
We were all very motivated and all knew how to paint building walls. When we saw that we could finish the ward in one day everybody said we will finish this! Let’s not keep the children out of their ward for longer than necessary. Also, everybody had a specific task so we could do things in the same time. I also really enjoyed the Rovers’ creativity in solving problems. It was awesome and every time we found a way. Once we completed painting the ward and had cleaned up, a Sister came to see what was done. She looked around and was amazed. She said: “This looks so great! I cannot believe that you have done this in one day.”
In addition to the ward make over, the hospital was also in dire need of toiletries for the children. As I still had some budget left I bought a whole basket full of nappies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary pads and all kind of other items which were on their list and handed it over to the chief nurse.
The hospital administrator Fiona Kunz was very grateful “A big thank you to all involved with the painting of our girl’s ward – It looks bright and fresh! I hope you all enjoyed the project and spending time with our children.”
The funds for this project were raised by Chief Scout Sibusiso Vilane in partnership with Nangu Thina and the Umckaloabo Foundation. The project was part of the 100 ECD projects as part of the Cub Centenary.