Members of the Joyce Chevalier Centre Protective Workshop celebrated a community-focused donation of goods as part of the False Bay Echo’s 65th anniversary and Mandela month.
The centre runs workshops for people with intellectual challenges. They gather there daily to both work and benefit from the warmth of social interaction.
Joyce Chevalier started the centre in 1972 or parents with children like her son, Philip, who was born with Down syndrome.
Today, the 41 people who use the centre daily are there for a variety of reasons. One was the sole survivor of a bus accident where all his classmates drowned.
Others have Down syndrome, some have cerebral palsy or have suffered brain trauma Manager of the centre, Odile Norton, said it was a privilege to work with them all.
“Some of the life experiences of our people are sobering in the sense that we are made to confront the reality of chance. I sometimes think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ because a drowning or accident can put any one of us in their position, in a matter of seconds.”
Ms Norton has devoted her life to the centre and its people and says she cannot laud her staff more. For her, retirement is not an option. This place is home, its people her family.
There are two workshops, for different abilities: one section puts stickers onto Ina Paarman products, the other group works with quality checking foam animals which are then repackaged for other uses. Ms Norton expressed gratitude for all the goods donated and especially for the time given in the visit.
Two tables and eight chairs were provided by Central Mica, and an urn was provided by Wakefords, while the False Bay Echo treated everyone to a cake for their tea time.
Spokesperson for Wakefords, Ian van Oudtshoorn, said: “We have done very well out of the community and we want to give something back. We chose this as our project because of the worthy work it does. “The centre gives so much to the community through what it does. We hope that the urn will go just a little way in making their lives easier,” he said.
Jan Uys, of Central Mica, said Central Mica was happy to participate in the Nelson Mandela Day initiative in aid of the centre.
“The initiative aimed at providing daily essentials to the centre. This would allow for the important work of the centre to continue,” he said.
Mr Uys said most of his staff had been with the store for upwards of 20 years.
“This dedication showcases the passion and belief that exist within this small, but essential part of Fish Hoek. Similarly, the relationship that exists between Central Mica and its staff is comparable to that of a family,” he said.
Chantel Erfort, the editor of Cape Community Newspapers, which publishes the False Bay Echo, did the official cake cutting for a smiles-all-around tea time.