For the children at Ethelbert Home – a children’s home in Durban – the Easter holiday might not have been a weekend of fun and joy as it is for children elsewhere in the world – were it not for a team of caring and dedicated Equra Health staff.
Thanks to the empathy and commitment of Equra Health employees at oncology centres in Durban, children at Ethelbert Home were treated to traditional Easter fun activities on a day of laughter and games over the Easter weekend.
A group of Equra Health oncology staff visited Ethelbert Home on 28 March 2015 and stayed for several hours, playing games; doing face painting and decorating Easter eggs; and hiding chocolate eggs and bunnies in the yard and then inviting the children to look for them.
“There were several fun activities, but the children enjoyed the Easter egg hunt the most!” remembers Melissa Conradie, a radiation therapist at the Amanzimtoti Oncology Centre, which is part of the Equra Health network.
“The Equra Health oncology centres in Durban wanted to give back to the community and were looking for a project that would be suitable. One of the radiographers suggested Ehthelbert Home and we all liked the idea,” says Conradie.
Ethelbert Home was founded in 1908 in Durban and offers a ‘cottage system’ of residential care, a more caring model for a children’s home, in which separate homes each have their own kitchen, lounge, dining room and five to six small bedrooms.
Each cottage has a house mother and children may be short- term residents, or stay longer. Some go home to their parents over weekends and in the holidays, but many others do not.
The group decided to sponsor one of Ethelbert’s homes, Trenow House, which is home to 15 pre-school children. Their involvement includes fundraising for maintenance projects around the house, as well as arranging fun activities with the children over key holiday periods – like Easter, for instance.
Conradie said that after the Easter egg hunt, the group shared lunch with the kids and then played a little more before it was time to go. “We really enjoyed the time. The children are so loving and want to play and include you in everything, so it was really nice to be able to just hang out with them.”
Conradie said the group would be visiting Ethelbert House regularly and would be planning more activities for the rest of the year.