03 Oct

Medical Supplies Delivered to Clinics in South Africa

When Compassion Tea co-founders Chris and Jack Faherty wanted to plan a family vacation, they decided to make it a life-changing one for their two children, Julia and Liam. Instead of heading to a beach or Disney park, instead of hoofing it through an American historical sight or partaking of the grandeur of one of America’s great national parks, they chose a trip to South Africa. And when they left for their trip in late July, they took with them an extra 5 duffel bags. Each bag weighed 50 lbs. and was filled with medical supplies. The Fahertys delivered the duffel bags to Lily of the Valley Medical Centre and 1000 Hills Community Helpers – two clinics supported by CompassioNow. 

During the months leading up to their trip, the Fahertys worked with CompassioNow to coordinate the collection of medicines and medical supplies. The collaborative effort included eyeglasses donated by CareHarbor, Nature Made vitamins donated by Pharmavite, and medical supplies donated by Conejo Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, CA. In exchange for a monetary donation, Giving Children Hope donated wound care items such as sutures, bandages, surgical gloves, sponges and dressings. A nurse at Los Robles Hospital, also in Thousand Oaks, CA, collected over 125 pairs of warm, rubber-tread socks. CompassioNow also purchased antacids, antidiarrheals, aspirin, ibuprofen, and Neosporin.

These donated items were received with great joy and relief. Sister Nuluthando of Lily of the Valley Medical Centre was relieved to receive the aspirin and ibuprofen as the clinic was down to its last 10 pills. In a follow-up email, Dawn Leppan, founder of 1000 Hills Community Helpers, wrote, “I can’t begin to tell you what a huge help this has been for our clinic. The spectacles have been a huge [gift] for the elderly. The gloves and bandages are being used by our Home Base Care Workers.” While in South Africa, the Fahertys witnessed one such changed life when Ms. Leppan gave a pair of reading glasses to a grandmother. Writes Mr. Faherty, “She was very happy but her glasses started steaming up. Dawn asked what was wrong and the grandmother replied that she could finally see well but she had no money to pay for the glasses. Dawn said that they were free and the grandmother was overcome with joy.”

The relationship between CompassioNow and Lily and 1000 Hills has been strong for several years. CompassioNow has been supporting Lily since 2006 and completed outfitted the medical clinic, which opened in 2008. Anne Kennedy, Mrs. Faherty, and Ed Bjurstrom, all CompassioNow directors, attended the grand-opening on behalf of CompassioNow. Lee Kennedy, president of Compassion Tea, recalls that when he first visited Lily in 2006 it was housed in “a shell of a building.” Today, the children’s village and orphanage includes a medical clinic, school, and computer room. In November, 2006, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. Faherty, and Mr. Bjurstrom visited 1000 Hills to determine if it was a clinic with which CompassioNow should partner. At the time, Ms. Leppan was operating her feeding center in an abandoned Catholic church once a week. Since that time, and with help from CompassioNow among other private organizations, Ms. Leppan has built a complex that houses a feeding center, children's nursery, school, medical clinic, and gardens. Ms. Leppan also operates a community care ambulance to visit surrounding villages and those who can’t physically make it to the clinic. She has recently started an outreach clinic, school, and safe house for for abused women and children near a government-funded community. Mrs. Faherty described her visit to this community as “bleak and frightening” because of the barefoot children running through sewage and around “live electrical wires running down the paths between the little cement block houses.” Mrs. Faherty continues, ”But then in the corner of the community is a nursery school for probably 30 children with green grass and a play structure as well as a vegetable garden, clinic room, and ‘safe house’ for women and children who have been abused. It was like an oasis in the middle of disease and chaos….”

Both Lily and 1000 Hills receive no government funding and rely totally on private donations like the ones made by CompassioNow.

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