Never too old to learn

Silver Threads Dienssentrum is an organisation that caters to the needs of the elderly, bedridden and disabled in the community of Ashton in the Western Cape.

In 1980, the late Willem Witbooi retired and after being at home for a while, decided that he needed to do something that would add meaning to his life.

He gathered some old folk in the community and established a support group to help each other deal with the challenges that they were facing and by 1987, the Silver Threads Dienssentrum was formed.

“The organisation was started to enrich the lives of the underprivileged, bedridden and disabled senior citizens in our community with physical, emotional and spiritual support”, says Alida Cilliers of Silver Threads Dienssentrum.

In an effort to teach them independence and to help them generate an income, the organisation teaches its patrons skills such as knitting, sewing, gardening, cooking and catering among others. Thus far, 17 women have acquired the skills to manufacture their own items for sale.

“Through the Department of Public Works IDT program, Silver Threads Dienssentrum have created 50 jobs to empower the unemployed in Ashton, Robertson and Montagu.

Silver Threads Dienssentrum also provides other support such as an outreach program for the youth, sports programs for the elderly and mobile meals to the bedridden and frail as well as a soup kitchen for community members in need.

At the centre, Silver Threads Dienssentrum takes care of approximately 105 elderly, including 15 bedridden and 7 disabled people. With the help of FoodBank SA the organisation is able to feed each person five days per week. They are also able to help feed other community members three days a week.

“The donations from FoodBank SA are a godsend. Without these donations we wouldn’t be able to supply food parcels to our members and other underprivileged members of the community”.