Daniel and Friends Fund

Daniel and Friends Fund
The Daniel and Friends Fund...creating the platform for a stronger, more intimate special needs community

What is the Daniel and Friends Fund?

On the 23rd August 2013 little Daniel le Roux lost his lengthy and courageous battle with Leigh Syndrome, exactly one week after another little warrior, Mariele Laurie, succumbed to complications of the syndrome she suffered from, Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome. Professor Pieter Fourie, whose care of and love for Daniel and Mariele had gone over and beyond anything which might be considered fair professional expectation, was determined not to allow the heartache and devastation caused by such tragedy to go without lending itself to a higher purpose...and so shortly after Mariele and Daniel had earned their angel wings, Professor Fourie shared with Kate and Lianie, their mothers, his vision for an organisation which would provide much-needed support for other parents who might be on a similar journey. Just a few short months later, the Daniel and Friends Fund was born guided by, by this time, three special needs mothers, each symbolic of the three friends who had helped Daniel in the Biblical passage from which Professor Fourie had drawn his inspiration.

Since their launch in February 2014, the Daniel and Friends Fund (a registered non-profit organisation) and the dedicated and driven people behind it, have provided not only the emotional and psychological support often sought by parents of children with special needs, but have also committed to ensuring that these parents have had access to the necessary knowledge and training in order to equip them to care for their children in the best possible way that they can. While largely focusing on top priority issues like providing extremely affordable CPR courses, free therapy sessions, psychology-based programs for the parents, occasional donations of items/equipment necessary for caring for a child with special needs...the importance of also creating a fundamental base from which friendships and 'normalcy' can stem has not gone overlooked. To this end, the Daniel and Friends Fund mommies are often treated on special days like Mother's Day and Women's Day and, where possible, these invitations are extended to the entire family for celebrations such as Mandela Day, Christmas Day, etc.

The purpose of our blog is not only to provide the opportunity for sponsors, supporters and followers to stay in touch with the various projects and events we're busy with but also, and just as importantly, to provide an insight for others into what life entails for families on a special needs journey, as well as enlightening fellow parents to the fact that this journey need not be travelled alone...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Painting It Forward 2015

In 2014, 32 year old Chris Lategan, an art director and movie props master, came face-to-face with one of the fears many of us dread...cancer. Diagnosed with a rare brain tumour which left him blind, Chris was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital for surgery. Despite being thrilled to have his sight back after a successful operation, one of the things Chris' visually-trained eyes first took in was the dreary state of the hospital's walls, particularly in the paediatric ward he occasionally passed.
Filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the positive outcome of his treatment, Chris envisioned an initiative whereby he could pay it forward (a sentiment originally offered by Dr Burke - the anaesthetist who oversaw Chris' care in theatre), in the most creative way he knew how...art. And so, barely back on his feet, Chris shared on Facebook his idea of adding some much-needed colour and character to the walls of Tygerberg Hospital's paediatric ward. Friends, volunteers and sponsors immediately jumped on board, as did the Daniel and Friends Fund, and so followed the very first Painting It Forward project.
Eager to make the project an annual event, the Painting It Forward team got together again in August this year to debate its next possible project and after much deliberation settled on the Tygerberg Hospital School. Tygerberg Hospital School not only ensures that all children undergoing treatment, regardless of the duration, are able to stay up to date with their school work, but also provides specialised classes for children who struggle with Apraxia. A meeting with Tygerberg Hospital School's principal, Susan Potgieter, and a quick tour of the school left us not only in awe of how efficiently the school is managed with such limited resources, but with a very clear idea of which area would most benefit from the Painting It Forward project...the school entrance, which did little justice to the remarkable efforts being made within the heart of the school.
Once again the generosity from sponsors, volunteers and artists alike was overwhelming and a truly heartwarming process to be a part of. With the outstanding donations and sponsorships from Quality Paint Supplies, Franco Frazzita, Premier Scaffolding, AFS Productions, PEG Design and Oh So Pretty Event Planning, the incredible talent and commitment of the artists who painted the murals and the willingness and dedication of the volunteers to take care of the 'ground work', it was a project deemed for awesomeness. The excitement and pure delight captured on the childrens' faces when seeing the murals for the first time was the final affirmation of what a rewarding experience it had been.
The "before" picture
The walls needed to be scraped, sanded, washed
and then painted with a base coat before the artists
could begin their murals.
Harmonious chaos as everyone gets stuck in
And finally the walls are prepped for the artists to begin
 The artists painted a base graphic and volunteers
jumped in to "colour in" while the artists 
concentrated on perfecting the intricate details
Susan Potgieter, principal of the Tygerberg
Hospital School, adds her artistic contribution


Jodique Fortune's space turtle

Ludolph Pretorius' uniquely styled mural of Red Riding Hood
(completed on the Monday)

Chris Venter worked till 4am on the Monday morning to complete
his amazing mural of Karla Krullebol. Visit
Chris Venter Illustration to view more of Chris' talented work

Dorette Walters also pushed through till 4am to complete her
beautiful Aladdin mural

Hardus Jonker's larger-than-life mural One Piece

Maxine Koen's underwater delight - Dory and Nemo

Shoana Jones and Jason Fortune effortlessly put
a man in space

Taygen Hendrikz  beee-utifully painted work

Elouise Milburn's magical unicorn

Renier van der Vyver strikes a pose with his SpongeBob
Olivia Stone's breath-taking mural of How To Train Your Dragon,
which took three straight days to complete

Sandie Gie's awesome mural of Inside Out
Without these fabulous organisations and their generous donations
and support, the Painting It Forward project would not have
been the roaring success it was - we humbly thank you :
Quality Paint Supplies
Franco Frazzita
Premier Scaffolding
AFS Productions
PEG Design
Oh So Pretty Event Planning
Vanessa and Marko Speck from Quality Paint Supplies
who not only donated all the exceptional-quality colour
paint, but popped in on both Saturday and Sunday and
then again to watch the children seeing the murals for
the first time.

Some of the amazing Painting It Forward 2015 team
The Daniel and Friends Fund, together with one of
our newest partners Michelle Phillips from
Synchronize Systems (and our on-site medic for the
weekend) wish to congratulate Chris Lategan on
the wonderful success he achieved with
Painting It Forward 2015! We look forward to what
2016 brings for this inspiring initiative.
And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Santa Shoebox Project 2015 - Sive Nathi Licensed Home

Our Santa Shoebox Project this year was dedicated to the Sive Nathi Home in Blackheath.

Sive Nathi Home provides a full-time care facility for forty children, between the ages of 3-18 years old, each of whom struggle daily with the conditions related to their severe disabilities. Any child who faces profound challenges as a result of disability (or any other cause) is heartbreaking in itself, but a child who does so without the security, comfort and nurturing of their family, affords the situation empathy and concern on a whole new level. Being mothers to children with special needs ourselves, the reality of these children's circumstances resonated profoundly with us and there was little consideration needed before choosing Sive Nathi Home as the recipient of our Shoebox Project for 2015.


Sive Nathi (which means "God Hears Us" in Xhosa) not only provides 24-hour care to children who are mentally and/or physically challenged, but some of whom are faced with being HIV Positive as well.  Doing what they can to help lessen the trauma of being orphaned or abandoned (whether by choice or because of financial restraints), the carers are responsible for ensuring that each child enjoys a healthy, balanced diet, has their hygienic needs met and receives regular exercise and medical care when needed. Those children who are able to also attend the nearby Astra School, which specialises in physically challenged students.

In 1997 Lorraine Joja opened her home in Khayelitsha to 15 children with special needs, making use of a wooden hut across the road for additional accommodation, with only 5 or 6 staff members to help her. With there being an unquestionable demand for a facility of this nature, the children grew rapidly in number and by 2001 a bigger and better-equipped facility was desperately needed. Thankfully a generous sponsor arranged for bond approval for a home at 59 Roberts Street in Blackheath. Shortly thereafter ABSA Bank stepped in and provided further assistance by setting up a Trust in the name of Sive Nathi Licensed Home and donated the property to the Trust. Sive Nathi Home officially took occupation in June 2001.
The home currently has 21 caregivers (who work 12-hour shifts on a 2 days on-2 days off rotation), 2 cooks, 2 cleaners, 1 handyman, 2 drivers, 1 laundry worker, 2 supervisors,1 staff nurse and 3 admin workers.  Lorraine Joja (Director and Manager of the facility) is still actively involved in the day-to-day running of the home and can often be found interacting with the children throughout the day. Having reached its maximum capacity of 40 children but with an ever-increasing demand to accommodate more, one of the home's core objectives at this point is funding for bigger premises, as well as the additional staff requirement which will accompany an increased number of children.

As Kim Mqalo (Sive Nathi's Project Co-ordinator) proudly showed us and Minki Burger (Daniel and Friends Fund's newest ambassador) around the facility, the time, effort and care that has gone into ensuring "their children" are receiving the best possible care became clearly obvious. From hanging toys on the ceiling for those mostly bedridden to enforcing a routine which ensures each child receives adequate stimulation and attention and even encouraging the parents of those children largely deemed "abandoned" to begin nurturing relationships and bonds with their children, one can't help but wish for a way to contribute more substantially towards them reaching their goals.

Should any of our followers wish to make a donation to this end, Sive Nathi's banking details are:

Bank Name      : Sive Nathi Licensed Home

Account no      : 271479620

Bank                 : Standard Bank

Branch             : Tyger Manor

Branch Code    : 050-410 

 Tel /Fax no.: (021)905-6048