R350 000 ray of light for children at Edendale Hospital

CORPORATE and community stakeholders have joined forces to give the paediatric ward at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg a much-needed makeover – resulting in a bright, more cheerful environment that encourages hope and healing for little ones.

At any given time, the ward at the state-run hospital is “home” to more than 40 children from disadvantaged backgrounds ranging from new-borns to 13-year olds. When the request for help went out, Absa together with The Lion Match Company’s subsidiary company NSP Unsgaard and their brand Cherubs, responded immediately with a R350 000 sponsorship. The money has been used to paint the entire ward, design 32 metres of mural and replace all the curtaining.

“In celebration of the centenary anniversary of uTata, Nelson Mandela and Absa’s commitment to strongly establish lasting legacies in all the communities in which it operates in, the bank was excited to bring to life the Edendale paediatric ward to the people that mattered most to — the children,” says Ronnie Mbatsane, managing executive KZN.

“By seeking to grant children the treatment and facilities that will usher them into great health and wellness, we are honoured to be part of this initiative and value the opportunity for us to also plant a seed that will cultivate a forest for generations to come.”

Basie Van Wyk, CEO of The Lion Match Company, says they are passionate about working with organisations that uplift the lives of children. “We have partnered with Absa and Blue Sky Society Trust and selected to do this project at Edendale Hospital as it provides health care to many underprivileged children on a daily basis. The paediatric ward needed a drastic facelift to improve the environment in which these children are being taken care of and we believe that our contribution will have a positive impact on their treatments and recovery. Further to this, we think it is not only beneficial for the children but also for the doctors and nurses to have a positive uplifting environment to work in.”

Together with community volunteers, the teams from Absa, The Lion Match Company’s Cherubs and KwaZulu-Natal NPO, Blue Sky Society Trust, worked their magic, painting the walls, putting in new curtains and lovingly painting 32 metres of wall in bright, joyful murals to create a positive surrounding.

The murals depict scenes from South African author and philanthropist, Greg Bertish’s inspirational book, The Little Optimist, that tells the story of a sailing boat with a heart of gold. It’s a story about life lessons, about being different, being positive and never giving up. The children’s ward has been gifted with 200 copies of the book to keep the little patients entertained.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and Thobekile Maphumulo, mayor of uMgungundlovu District Municipality led the high-profile delegation for the official handover of the refurbished children’s ward on Saturday.

Edendale Hospital CEO, Nelisile Nxaba, thanked Absa and The Lion Match Company for the upgrade, saying their efforts will help expedite treatment and recovery for all children in the ward.

There were smiles all around during the ward walkabout after the handover ceremony as the team took in the happier, sunnier environment on the seventh floor of the hospital that now presents a welcome distraction for the children and an aesthetically-pleasing environment for doctors and nurses to work in.

The Edendale Hospital paediatric ward makeover was facilitated by KwaZulu-Natal NPO, Blue Sky Society Trust. The organisation’s Carla Geyser says it is truly heart-warming to see the phenomenal impact of a collective corporate and community initiative.

— Supplied.