My name is Treska Botha and I am a Registered Nursing Practitioner with an Integrative Practice in Hout Bay called ‘Healing Without Boundaries’. We are training 14 women to become qualified home carers (or nightingales as they call themselves). I am writing this to share my journey of hope and potential with the community.
I received many requests for Homebased Carers from the Community and from friends. Their tragic stories about their loved ones struck at my heart but I did not want to recommend or place any Carers unless they were excellently trained and had the heart of a ‘’Florence Nightingale’’.
I was enthusiastic to help my patients by providing excellent nursing care while at the same time my heart went out to the many unemployed people in our community who are unemployed. I wanted to take action to provide for their families and the community.
To help transform my ideas into action, I turned to Warren Abrahams, an energetic Community Leader in Hangberg who moved mountains to get the word out and different parties to the table. We had 50 interested candidates, many of them had caring experience but felt they were not properly trained.
They needed a certificate of qualification which would ensure better work and remuneration for them and so I contacted Robin Trust to collaborate with their Homebased Care college. They too acknowledged the need to train carers in Houtbay – a harmonious (divine) coincidence! I was received and assisted with kindness, support and warmth by the women at Robin Trust namely Corlea Viljoen (General Manager), Aletia Ritter (Marketing) and Nelrina Steyn (Lecturer).
The next few steps were not easy, but I never take no for an answer! First, the search began for sponsorship for the women who applied to do the training through this new venture with Robin Trust. I put the word out on Hout Bay Organized and within a day a kind and generous donor contacted me, offering to sponsor 10 candidates. She had the heart to train people properly so that they could get a worthwhile job and income. We are thankful for our generous donors who make it possible to combat unemployment while giving back to the community at the same time.
The next huge step was securing a venue for the 4-week theoretical training. Some were promised, some could offer only a couple of days and the last one was too expensive. Nico (my husband) and I just looked at each other and said, “we have a big space in our home and this is where it will be.” We kept the 14 tenacious women in the loop by setting up weekly meetings. It was not hard to keep them encouraged because they had a burning desire to make the most of this incredible opportunity.
Finally, by June 2021, our lectures going on strong. The complete group is here every morning fresh and excited at 07h30, ready for coffee, and classes start promptly at 08h00.
This program will be blessed and will grow into a magnificent squad of “Nightingales”. With the strong belief in our goal, we are still looking around for spaces where these eager students can achieve their practical experience in our area. I know doors will open as they have done so for the past few weeks as obstacles crossed our path. The ideal situation would be to work in a frail care or retirement home, seeing what is expected in the practical setting. I am confident that the right person will read this lovely story and be the next pole bearer to take this project even further. Together we can achieve so much, and this community looks after its own!
Thinking about the future, we trust that there will be venues opening up for our following courses in Hout Bay.
As I observe these precious women from the different communities and feel their energy and dedication, my heart swells and I am at peace that we will be able to give our patients excellent and loving care as well as providing employment, pride and worth to many who have lost hope along the covid way.
Their prayers, and mine, have been answered.