A 22-year-old Cornelia Keller from Huesten is providing volunteering her services at a home for chronically ill children in Cape Town.

Helping ill children is a calling for Cornelia Keller. This is clear when reading her mails from Cape Town, where she is helping sick and poor children. The 22-year-old from Huesten decided to work as a volunteer for nine months at St. Joseph’s Home for chronically ill children in Cape Town after finishing her studies as a qualified nurse. She has been working in South Africa since November 2016. She will be returning home to Neheim-Hüsten in July 2017.

Home relies on donations

St. Joseph’s Home admits children who suffer from AIDS or tuberculosis or need rehabilitation after serious accidents or extensive surgeries. The Home is located in Cape Town’s district Montana close to the townships. “The Home is focused on helping sick children from families with limited financial resources”, Cornelia Keller writes via Mail-correspondence with the editorial staff of WP/WR in Neheim.

The Home is subsidized by the Government, but relies mainly on donations and fundraisings of sponsors. As a result of the above mentioned situation it was clear to Cornelia Keller that this Home needs volunteers.

This young woman, who is not scared of dealing with children suffering from aids, completed Matric at the grammar school “St.-Ursula-Gymnasium” in Neheim and continued to complete her an nursing training successfully at the clinical center called Klinikum Arnsberg. Cornelia Keller knows very well that bare skin contact, with children know with AIDS, is not contagious. If a child would fall and sustain an open wound she would without question only attend to the wound whilst wearing gloves.

Cornelia Keller consciously decided to work at this children’s Home, so that she can contribute her specialized nursing skills. “I Work as a nurse in the mornings and help with washing the children, nappy changes, application of medicine, nutrition and medicine – application via NG tubes sometimes. In the afternoon I work with children in groups”, she gives an example:“ The occupational therapists have groups for the babies with HIV/AIDS. Their development is in general slower and their activity levels lower than in comparison with healthy children. Exercises are provided to help improve balance and motor functions.”

On the 30th of June there will be a street music Evening which will be held by her fellow classmates. All the proceeds will go to the St Joseph’s Home in Cape Town. The motto for the evening is “Helping Hands: Music travels around the world.”
Occupational Therapy for aids sick babies

Cornelia Keller can also bring in her musically talent. After sponsors made the renovation of the home possible she was asked to be the violinist for the reopening-event. The instrument was lend to her by her friend Joyce. At this felicitous event, the idea was created to  offer music-workshops for children over the age of 6 years. This is already taking place.

The 22-year-old who wants to study Health Psychology and Medical education as soon as she returns from South Africa. She is working with an intern from the Netherlands – on a support document for the work of new interns and volunteers. This document will amongst others explain the daily routine on the wards, the responsibilities of all staff members, explain illnesses in order to reduce possible insecurities in handling the kids.

After her eight hour working day (Mondays to Fridays) there is still time left on the weekends for getting to know the country and its people.

Translated by Rozelle Conradie.

Martin Schwarz, WP/WR, Neheim-Hüsten, Germany