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A New IMBEWU Project...

18.09.2004 | Foundation

…Opening of the Smiling Room! On Thursday 26 August, a new IMBEWU initiative was officially inaugurated at Dora Nginza Hospital in Zwide Township: a SMILING ROOM! The idea was born in the mind of two young Swiss volunteers, Morgane Rousseau and Camille Gobet, who spent much time working with children at the hospital during a two months stay with IMBEWU in New Brighton Township last year. See the photos in the gallery under IMBEWU. Dora Nginza Hospital - which used to be a “blacks only” hospital during the apartheid years – touched the two girls who became attached to the staff members and to the children, most of them being HIV- positive or healing in the burnt children’s unit. They found it very tough to face the daily sadness and often tragic situation of the children. After discussion with the IMBEWU South Africa management team and after having raised funds through IMBEWU-Suisse activities, Morgane and Camille decided to go back to Port Elizabeth in July and spend another two months working at Dora Nginza Hospital, trying to bring a little contribution of their own. In close cooperation with Dora Nginza management and staff, IMBEWU was therefore able to organize a playroom for the children of the hospital. On Thursday 26 August, the “IMBEWU Smiling ROOM”, beautifully painted, full of toys, teddy bears and books, was officially inaugurated. The IMBEWU Community Volunteers’ management, the hospital’s CEO (very happy about the new collaboration) and IMBEWU’s new patron Mr. Raymond Mhlaba (great figure of the liberation struggle alongside Mr. Mandela) were sharing their little red, yellow or green chair with many delighted children and friends of the hospital. The traditional xhosa-zulu dancers of “Ubuhle be Africa” also sang for the occasion (“Beauty of Africa” performed in Switzerland with Johnny Clegg during South Africa’s 10 years of democracy celebrations organized by IMBEWU in June in the city of Neuchâtel). A little sunshine place was born at Dora Nginza Hospital! Today, children who are struggling with a difficult health situation in a difficult environment come daily to have a little bit of fun in the SMILING ROOM. The project is running under the supervision of Mrs. Mfunda, a retired principal of a primary school, who is now a local volunteer of IMBEWU, responsible for the project, taking care of the children and coordinating the development of the SMILING ROOM between IMBEWU and Dora Nginza Hospital. Home will always remain home, but one of the strong images that we will remember of this inauguration is a little girl who was almost crying, sad to see her friends going to the SMILING ROOM as she was waiting – discharged from the hospital - for her mother to come and fetch her!

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