Will you be an optimist together with us?

“The Great Optimist Race is  about inspiring sick and needy kids to never ever give up and find a passion to live for” says founder.

The Great Optimist Race 2019 will be held during the Cape Town International Boat Show, on October 19th. Between 35 and 40 Optimist Children’s dinghies will be raced by adults ( Celebrities, Medical Survivors; Captains of Industry)and St Josephs Home has a boat sailing especially for our children. This event is not for glory, but to raise money and awareness especially focusing on disadvantaged and ill children.
The Race is a FANTASTIC and UNIQUE fundraising event, spreading optimism and HOPE.

The event will take place at the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. So if you are in the area, come down and support our St Josephs boat and see who walks away with the coveted trophy.

Please donate R50 or R100 or a R1000 but whatever you can just get some wind into our sails. Our target is R10 000.

Challenge your friends and corporates, fellow sailors, yachties,  to match or better your donation, and help us to help other people.

Excerpt from 2018 Great Optimist Race:

 42 Optimist sailors set off on a tricky 3 lap course through the V &  A Waterfront, watched by 1000s of spectators. With the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain, the sailors raced for glory and survival. The competitors comprised of adults made up of medical survivors, local celebrities, Captains of Industry and some pro sailors. Three separate start, beginner, intermediate and pro sailors, allowed for a good handicap and a chance for those who had only learned to sail days before. This unique race was all about overcoming the odds and surviving. It’s about inspiring sick and needy kids to never ever give up and find a passion to live for. So, as in the race of life, this race had some unique curveballs and obstacles for the sailors to overcome. Not only did the wind squalls and gusts in the second basin cause havoc, but so did the pedestrian bridge that opened and closed at will, along with “water pistol armed and dangerous” local celebrities Kieno Kammies and Tanya Neft on their own bigger yacht. These were the disrupters. The competitors had to get past these to cross the line.

Our Brave Survivors, Caleb and Jasper, neck and neck for 1st Place!

    It was Caleb Swanepoel, an amputee and shark attack survivor (in the Primi Piatti Optimist) who sneaked in to win the race, just ahead of Jasper Eales in the Sealand Optimist.  (Jasper is a liver transplant survivor).


St Joseph’s shares in Soul Circle’s event of Creativity

A philanthropic circle of friends, founded by Celia Falkenberg, chose St Joseph’s Home as their beneficiary for their annual fundraising event. Known as Soul Circle, the evening’s theme was “Creativity Awake” while being entertained by St Joseph’s own Children’s Band.  More than 100 guests attended the event, engaged with speaker Nina Pearse, and also enjoyed special harvest platters of delicious foods, wine and desert. Various items and trees were also auctioned. The Van Stolk family donated two trees to SJH. The event was held at the Post House Wine Estate, Somerset West.

Front left: Alrika Hefers (manager SJH), Adrian van Stolk (chairman SJH Board), Thea Patterson (SJH Director) and Dayne Falkenberg (SJH Board member) represented St Joseph’s at the event.

St Joseph’s children perform in front of an appreciative audience. The band has been developed over two years by two music experts Josey and Igshaan. It is currently funded by the Ryan Foundation as part of a children’s after school project which also includes an art and movement programme.


Stellenberg Estate Garden – Open to the Public on 9th and 10th  November 2019

The Stellenberg Estate reflects historic periods of the past 300 years. This unique opportunity allows the public to stroll through and experience these breathtaking gardens. Sandy and Andrew Ovenstone’s beautiful four-acre garden is internationally acclaimed, having been featured on the BBC television series ‘Around the World in 80 Gardens’. The 18th Century manor house is said to be one of the most beautiful in the Cape Peninsula.

A special focus this year on The Walled Garden:

English designer David Hicks designed a formal garden, based on the classic idea of a Walled Garden, to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Andrew and Sandy Ovenstone in 1989. Thirty years on, this iconic garden room at Stellenberg continues to honour the legacy and style of David Hicks while constantly evolving, as the garden and it surrounds matures and changes. Enclosed by a whitewashed wall, covered in heritage climbing roses, the garden is divided into two by a simple brick pathway. An asymmetrical layout of knee height clipped hedges gives the garden its architectural structure, but which allows for seasonal changes in planting style and the colours used. It is a celebration of a marriage, a celebration of good garden design and is the heart of the garden at Stellenberg.


9th and 10th November 2019 (2 days only!)

09h30 to 17h30.


Tickets available at the gate:

Adults R50, Children U/12 enter free
Garden Tea R30
(Cash and Zapper only)


Stellenberg Gardens – 30 Oak Avenue Kenilworth. Cape Town. South Africa.

Proceeds in aid of St Joseph’s Home for Chronically ill Children






Regrettably no dogs or picnic baskets allowed.

Children welcome under adult supervision.


A little girls journey of healing and recovery at St Joseph's Home

Several years ago, four year old Makanakah sustained 80% hot water burns across her tiny body. While playing with the other children at home, she fell into a bathtub of boiling water. She spent weeks in the Burns Unit at RXH receiving numerous skin grafts and transplants. Makanakah transferred to St Joseph’s in July 2015 for nursing and rehabilitation. At the time, she had developed severe contractures at her shoulder, elbows, hands, hips and knees. She also had significant scarring on her face and body. She arrived at St Joseph’s covered in bandages and afraid of any person in uniform.

While at St Joseph’s, her nursing care consisted of wound care, massaging of the skin to keep it moist and flexible, in addition to the routine care of assisting her with bathing, brushing her teeth, eating and dressing herself. She was unable to do any of these activities herself.

According to the physiotherapist who treated her, Makanakah would initially pretend she was sleeping when she was collected for therapy sessions. Stretching was painful, but essential to preserve function. She would only allow scar tissue massage and as soon as she was expected to do anything functional, she would scream and cry continuously. One day, they had a breakthrough when they incorporated the pasting of stickers on a board into therapy sessions. She loved the stickers and soon forgot that she was supposed to be sleeping! Playing with the different colour stickers was the start of her recovery.

After about a year and a half, Makanakah improved so much that she was discharged from Physio. Up until her final departure from St Joseph’s, she would still seek out therapy, even though she knew that she no longer needed it.

The Occupational Therapist reports that Makanakah was unable to dress herself, do up buttons and zips and  turn door handles, or open and close taps. She struggled to hold a spoon and needed to be fed. She could not hold a pencil  or crayon and activities such as cutting with scissors requiring the use of both hands were extremely difficult. She also struggled to socialise with other children due to her physical appearance and psychological scars.

She progressed so well that in her activities of daily living that she was able to dress herself, tie shoelaces and do up buckles! She attended school on our premises which helped her to socialise and feel accepted. Her handwriting and cutting skills improved significantly.

Her social worker counselled her mother and together with the multidisciplinary team prepared her for her child’s return home and future care needs. Support structures were put in place and school placement organised. The case was also referred to Community Health Workers for follow up after discharge to ensure her continued well-being.

After her discharge home, Makanakah continued her education at our Special Needs school on the premises where her well-being is monitored and she continues to receive occupational therapy.

Eight year old Makanakah (in the picture with  her Mom) has  transformed from a scared, tearful little child, to an assertive, lively and socially confident young girl, despite her severe burns and physical limitations.