Elders in South Africa face their own set of challenges, especially those who live in low-income communities. Having made it through Covid, many only just get by on a meagre pension and often share it with other family members. With such limited resources, older people are left vulnerable to abuse and violence as they’re unable to access health and social services.
Ikamva Labantu began its work since the 1960s, when confronted by widespread neglect and isolation of older persons in the townships of Cape Town. By working with community-led Seniors’ Clubs, it helps facilitate access to essential health, social and legal services, along with social enterprise initiative.
By promoting wellbeing and economic activity, senior citizens are enabled to actively live out their golden years with dignity, improved health, safety and a sense of belonging and value in their community.
Its Senior Citizens Programme proactively helps those most in need by supporting elders to take an active role in caring for each other. And its driven by strong women, within these self-organised communities, like senior clubs founder Tutu Gceme, who is now an elder herself and has dedicated her life’s work to the programme.
“Seniors have mastered the art of achieving great things with what they have. They have contributed to building and protecting their families, and the community. They have contributed to the future of their children with little resources available to them. Yet when they need help the most, very few people are willing to assist. We must all remember not to take them for granted, as they still have a lot contribute.”
The objective of Ikamva Labantu’s Senior Citizens Programme is to facilitate growth in household income for senior citizens. It helps with applications for government grants, provides opportunities for income generation, and makes community education available on senior citizens’ rights (as related to the Older Persons Act).